THE FUNDAMENTALS OF FAITH
Aftab Ahmad Khan
THE AUTHOR & BOOKS:
Brigadier Aftab Ahmad Khan (Retired), is an ardent student of Semitic religions. After retirement form military he is dedicated to research and writing with broader and pragmatic perspective. A graduate of Command & Staff College Quetta and PakistanAirWarCollege also attended a course in USA. He has held various command, staff and instructional appointments. In the quest for knowledge he completed Masters in Business Administration as well in Political Science. After retirement from military he also served in corporate sector in multinational environments. He closely observed various cultures during his world wide travels which include North America, Europe, Middle East, China, Far East and Australia. He articles are regularly published (www.defencejournal.com). The research work has been compiled in the form of following books, being published in same sequence, freely made available for the benefit of humanity for the people of all faiths & cultures:
1. The Creator
2. The Creation
3. The Guidance
4. Islam: The Broader Perspective
5. The Final Messenger & Scripture
6. The Last Prophet (pbuh) [selected articles]
7. Islam: A General Introduction (edited and updated translation of: “Ta’rif-e-Aam Bi-Din Il-Islam” by: Sheikh Ali al-Tantawi).
8. Significance of Knowledge
9. Philosophy & Impact
10. Jesus: Christianity & Bible
11. Islam- Jews & Christians (People of the Book)
12. The Fundamentals of Islam
13. Metaphysics [Invisible world, predestination]
14. Modern Challenges
15. Islam and Society
16. The Infallible Imamate
PUBLICATION, translation and reproduction of books by Brigadier (R) Aftab Ahmad Khan, in full or in part on non commercial basis is permitted subject to following:
v The contents should not be altered to mean what is not intended to be meant by the author. It will be appreciated if the author is also informed. The law of the land is fully respected and not violated.
v The reference of the author, e mail, web sites, blog is mentioned:
In the name of God, The Most Gracious, The most Merciful
The religions generally emphasize the dogmas and rituals of worship, while advocating high morals; but Islam is unique, it is the complete way of life, (Din), encompassing spiritual, as well as social, political, economic and all other aspects of human life for peace and security. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did not introduce any new faith, God chose him for reviving and culminating the original faith for all the humanity till eternity. It is based upon attainment of peace through total surrender to the ‘Will of God’ (Islam), preached by all the previous messengers, to their respective communities. Islam is, rooted in Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him), the common ancestor of Jews, Christians and Muslims.
The recent upsurge in the militancy and violence against oppression and foreign occupation in some Muslim lands has been incorrectly labeled as ‘Islamic Terrorism’. Terrorism is not restricted to any one religion. Such movements are, akin to any other armed movement like, in Spain (Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) Euzkadi Ta Askatasuna), South Africa (armed struggle by ANC during apartheid regime), Sri Lanka (Tamil Tigers), Northern Ireland (IRA), Georgia (Abkhazia & South Ossetia), India (Nagaland, Mezoram), Hutu and Tutsi conflict in Rwanda and Burundi, Mexico (EZLN: Zapatista National Liberation Army), Kurdish separatists movement in Turkey and Iraq (among Muslims). ‘Ku Klux Klan’ the Whites racist terrorist organizations against blacks, operating in the U.S.A since 1865. The Baader-Meinhof gang of West Germany (1968-92), the Japanese Red Army, Italy’s Red Brigades, the Puerto Rican FALN, the Shining Path of Peru, France’s Direct Action., Zionist Irgun Zvai Leumi (National Military Organization), Stern Gang, (Lohame Herut Yisra‘el, “Fighters for the Freedom of Israel”) and Haganah, were among the most prominent terrorist groups of the later 20th century. The Christian Templars (1119-1312) of Crusaders period had religious fervor. The terrorist activities mostly target the innocent civilians: the suicide bombing by Tamil Tigers, poisonous gas attack by Japanese terrorists (Aum Shinrikyo - mixed Buddhist dominated movement) in the Tokyo subway in 1996 and deadly Oklahoma bombing in the United States in1995 by Americans ex servicemen, 9/11 attack against Twin Towers in N.Y and London subway bombing, are some examples. The out of proportion use of brute force and firepower by Israelis against unarmed Palestinians, US and allies against civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and killing of protesting Kashmiri civilians by Indian forces are forms of state terrorism.
Islam is misunderstood due to many fallacies, which exist among Christians, non Muslims and even amongst some Muslims about Islam. The main reasons contributing towards these delusions are; historic, geopolitical, social, cultural, economic, and religious and lack of understanding of Islam, and its values due to restricted and subjective view. Attributing every wrong act performed by Muslims, to Islam is not fair. Islam is strictly the monotheist religion of ‘Peace’ literally and from core, it does not preach violence or suicide, the killing of innocent people is considered as a crime against humanity.(Qur’an:4:29, 5:32, 17:33). The legitimate warfare by the state is to be conducted strictly within laid down limits.(Qur’an:2:216,190-193, 60:8-9).
A modest endeavor has been made to present the broader perspective of Islam by synthesizing the works of great scholars, published in the form of my articles, now being compiled in the form of series of books; “Islam: The Fundamentals of Faith” is one of them, briefly highlighting various forms of worship, which are much more that rituals. No human work can claim to be perfect, Imam Shafa’i, was very right in saying : “I am convinced about the authenticity of my opinions, but I do consider it likely that they may turn out to be incorrect. Likewise, I am convinced about the incorrectness of the views different from mine, but I do admit the possibility that they may turn out to be correct.” Error or omissions if any, are incidental for which forgiveness from Allah is sought: “Our Lord! Do not punish us if we forget or make a mistake.”(Qur’an;2:286).
Brigadier Aftab Ahmad Khan(R)
MA, MBA, LADSC (USA)
19 February, 2009
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER:2-THE ROOT OF AFFIRMATION
CHAPTER:3-THE 2ND PILLAR: PRAYER–SALAH
CHAPTER:4-THE 3RD PILLAR: OBLIGATORY ALMS -ZAKAT
CHAPTER:5-THE 4TH PILLAR: FASTING-SAUM
CHAPTER:6-THE 5TH PILLAR: THE PILGRIMAGE –HAJJ
CHAPTER:7-THERE, MOST SACRED MOSQUES , KA’BA
CHAPTER:8-PROPHET'S MOSQUE AT MEDINA
CHAPTER:9-AL-AQSA MOSQUE: MUSLIM CLAIM & LEGACY
CHAPTER:10-OBLIGATIONS OF MUSLIMS
“O ye who believe! Believe in Allah and His messenger (Muhammad) and the Scripture which He hath revealed unto His messenger, and the Scripture which He revealed aforetime. Whoso disbelieves in God and His angels and His Scriptures and His Messengers and the Last Day, he verily hath wandered far astray.”(Qur’an;4:136)
Faith is the confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, an idea, or a thing. The Belief that does not require logical proof or material evidence. The theological virtue may be defined as secure belief (aymaan) in Allah and a trusting acceptance of Allah's will. The Faith in Islam is belief (aymaan) as described in Qur’an: “Say (O Muslims): "We believe in Allah and the revelation given to us and to Abraham Isma’il Isaac Jacob and the Tribes and that given to Moses and Jesus and that given to (all) Prophets from their Lord we make no difference between one and another of them and we bow to Allah (in Islam).”(Qur’an;2:136). “O believers enter into Islam completely and do not follow the footsteps of Satan, surely he is your clear-cut enemy.” (Qur’an;2:208). Faith is by the Grace of Allah for those who use their reason, Allah says:” It is not possible for anyone to believe except by the permission of Allah, and He throws filth on those who do not use their reason. Say: "Look at whatever exists in the heavens and the earth." Signs and warnings do not benefit those people who do not believe.”(Qur’an;10:100-101).
The faith must withstand the test of time, as per Qur’an; "Do men think that they will be left alone on saying "We believe" and that they will not be tested? "(Qur’an;29:2). “We shall surely test your steadfastness with fear and famine, with loss of property, life and produce. Give good news to those who endure with patience; who, when afflicted with calamity, say: "We belong to Allah and to Him we shall return." Such are the people on whom there are blessings and Mercy from Allah; and they are the ones that are rightly guided.”(Qur’an;2:155-157). "It is He who sent down Tranquility into the hearts of the Believers that they may Add Faith to their Faith; for to Allah belong the Forces of the heavens and the earth; and Allah is full of Knowledge and Wisdom; "(Qur’an;48:4). “Allah's object also is to purge those that are true in faith and to deprive of blessing those that resist faith”. (Qur’an;3:141).
The faith is not complete when it is followed blindly or accepted unquestioningly. Man must build his faith on well-grounded convictions beyond any reasonable doubt and above uncertainty: “Behold! Abraham said: "My lord! Show me how you give life to the dead." He replied: "Have you no faith in this?" Abraham humbly submitted: "Yes! But I ask this to reassure my heart …"(Qur’an;2:260). Prophet Abraham (peace by upon him) had complete faith in Allah's power, but he wanted, with Allah's permission, to give an explanation of that faith to his own heart and mind. Islam insures freedom to believe and forbids compulsion in religion.
A Muslim also believes in a clear distinction between the Qur'an and the Sunnah. The Qur’an is the word of Allah, a book of guidance and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the role model for its practical implementation. The sayings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) are known as Hadith, where as the Sunnah is the examples of the Prophet's life; what he said, did, implemented and how he implemented, almost the same as the Hadith. Allah says: “You have indeed, in the life of Messenger of Allah, the 'Best Model' for him whose hope is in Allah and the Day of the Hereafter, and who engages himself much in the remembrance of Allah.”(Qur’an;33:21). “To Him you shall all return. Allah's promise is true. He is the One Who originates the process of Creation and repeats it (will bring it back to life) so that He may justly reward those who believed in Him and did righteous deeds. As for those who disbelieved, they shall have boiling fluids to drink and shall undergo a painful punishment because they rejected the truth.” (Qur’an;10:4). “Now, special mercy is assigned to those who follow the messenger, the unlettered Prophet (Muhammad) - whom they shall find described in the Torah and the Gospel. Who enjoins them what is good and forbids what is evil; makes pure things lawful for them and impure things unlawful; relieves them from their heavy burdens and from the yokes that were around their necks. Therefore, those who believe in him, honor him, help him, and follow the Light which is sent down with him will be the ones who will be successful in this life and the hereafter.”(Qur’an;7:157). “Say: Obey Allah and the messenger. But if they turn away, Lo! Allah loves not the disbelievers (in His guidance).” (Qur’an;3:32). Both the Qur'an and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) are the primary sources of knowledge in Islam. If some one believes in Qur’an but not in the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), he will be misguided by negating the Qur’an.
Islam and Faith (Ayman):
In the Qur’anic terminology, ‘Islam’ and ‘Faith’ (Belief, Ayman) as well as ‘Muslim’ and ‘Momin’ (Faithful) are generally used synonymously, comprehensively explained by Abul A’la Moududi in Tahfheem-ul-Qur’an. ‘Islam’ is the name of ‘True Faith’ which God has sent for the benefit of humanity, it encompasses both ‘Belief’ (Aymean) and ‘Obedience , submission to the Divine Commands (Islam)’. The ‘Muslim’ is a person who believes truly in heart and practically obeys the Divine Commands, this is evident form Qur’an: “Then We saved all those who were believers (Mu'minen) in the town - We found none but one household of true Muslims (Muslimen)” (Qur’an;51;35-36), “The Religion before Allah is Islam (submission to His will):..”(Qur’an;3:19), “If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah) never will it be accepted of him;” (Qur’an;3:85), “This day have I perfected your religion for you completed my favor upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.”(Qur’an;5:3), “Those whom Allah (in His Plan) wills to guide He opens their breast to Islam;”(Qur’an;6:125), “"Nay! I am commanded to be the first of those who submit to Allah in Islam” (Qur’an;6:14), “If they become Muslims they shall be rightly guided” (Qur’an;3:20).
Hence a ‘Muslim’ is the Faithful and believer (not merely by oral confession but believer from heart), as evident form Qur’an: “O believers! Fear Allah as He should be feared and die not but as true Muslims.”(Qur’an;3:102), “He named you Muslims before in prior scriptures and in this (The Qur'an),”(Qur’an;22:78), “Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian but he was a Muslim, true in faith.”(Qur’an;3:67), “"Our Lord! make of us Muslims bowing to Thy (Will) and of our progeny a people Muslim bowing to Thy (Will)” (Qur’an;2:128), “This was the legacy that Abraham left to his sons and so did Jacob, when he said: "O my sons! Allah has chosen for you this Faith, therefore, die not unless you are Muslims.”(Qur’an;2:132).
It may also be kept in view that the terms ‘Faith (Ayman)’ and ‘Faithful (Momin)’ does not necessarily mean ‘True Believer or Faithful’, though mostly used to mean the same, but at many places these terms have been used for those who apparently declare to be the followers of faith of Islam, i.e. all believers, weather of strong faith, weak faith or may be hypocrites (yaa 'ayy-u-haa'alla dena 'aamano): “O ye who believe! be not like the unbelievers who say of their brethren when they are traveling through the earth or engaged in fighting: "If they had stayed with us they would not have died or been slain.”(Qur’an;3:156), “O ye who believe! believe in Allah and his Apostle and the scripture which He hath sent to His Apostle and the scripture which He sent to those before (him). And who denies Allah His angels His Books His Apostles and the Day of Judgment hath gone far astray.”(Qur’an;4:136), “O ye who believe! if any from among you turn back from his faith soon will Allah produce a people whom He will love as they will love Him lowly with the believers mighty against the rejecters fighting in the way of Allah and never afraid of the reproaches of such as find fault.” (Qur’an;5:54), “O ye who believe! obey Allah and his apostle and turn not away from him when ye hear (him speak).”(Qur’an;8:20), “O ye that believe! betray not the trust of Allah and the apostle nor misappropriate knowingly things entrusted to you.”(Qur’an;8:27), “O ye that believe! fear Allah and believe in His apostle and He will bestow on you a double portion of His Mercy:”(Qur’an;57:28), “O believers! Why do you say something which you don't do?”(Qur’an;61:2).
It may be held that while the Faith (Ayman) is the name of inner state, Islam is its outward display by the faithful, as evident from the Hadith narrated Abu Huraira: One day while the Prophet (peace be upon him) was sitting in the company of some people, (The angel) Gabriel came and asked, "What is faith?" Allah's Apostle replied, 'Faith is to believe in Allah, His angels, (the) meeting with Him, His Apostles, and to believe in Resurrection." Then he further asked, "What is Islam?" Allah's Apostle replied, "To worship Allah Alone and none else, to offer prayers perfectly to pay the compulsory charity (Zakat) and to observe fasts during the month of Ramadan…"(Sahih Al Bukhari Hadith 1:47). Hence the person who possesses belief with certainty in his heart and displays obedience to Islam, may be called a Momin or Muslim, the synonymous terms.
There is an exception, where Islam and Ayman has been used distinctively in Qur’an, to distinguish between the true believers and those who orally profess Islam as favour, Allah says: “The Bedouin Arabs say: "We have believed." Tell them: "You have not believed; rather say 'We have become Muslims;' for faith has not yet found its way into your hearts. If you obey Allah and His Apostle, He will not deny you the reward of your deeds; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. The (true) believers are those only who believe in Allah and His messenger and afterward doubt not, but strive with their wealth and their lives for the cause of Allah. Such are the sincere.”(Qur’an;49:114-5).
The renowned scholar Dr.Israr Ahmad opine that in the Islamic state the citizenship is based upon Islam and not upon the Faith (Ayman) which, being hidden inner state can not form the basis for legal discussion and measurement. It is the compulsion that in the worldly matters the human relations can only be based upon the external displayed behaviour in which the oral expression of Ayman (Faith) can be included. Two aspects emerge: Firstly, a person may not be in a state of acceptance of faith nor denial rather is in a state of vacuum but in his actions reflect obedience to Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him). In such a state according to the rule no action of a man is acceptable to Allah without Ayman (Faith). None acceptance of such acts by Allah is in line with the Divine Justice but Allah due to His Mercy has also accorded acceptance of actions of such a person [indicated by His Names, Forgiving, Merciful (Ghafoor and Rahim), this is also the opinion of Egyptian scholar Syyed Qutab]. It may be kept in view that during the last days of Prophet (peace be upon him) when it was revealed; “you see the people entering Allah's religion (Islam) in large numbers.”(Qur’an;110:2), the state of faith of most of the people was the same, later in every period, the majority of the Muslims fall in to the same category.
Faith & Jihad (Striving in the Cause of Allah):
The detailed definition of real Faith has been stated, elaborating that in reality Faith (Ayman) is the firm belief in Allah and His Messenger without any doubt which must be strong and deep rooted in the heart and its foremost practical manifestation is though Striving for the cause of Allah (Jihad). Which implies that man should preach the Divine message using all means and sacrificing his wealth and self being. This has been elaborated that only such persons are true to the Faith. As for those who profess Islam merely orally without affirmation by the heart and then adopt an attitude as if they had done someone a favor by accepting Islam, may be counted among the Muslims in the world, may even be treated as Muslims in society, but they cannot be counted as believers in the sight of Allah.
The basic pillars of Islam are five, but ‘Strenuous Efforts’ (Jihad) made sincerely for the cause of Allah, may be included as part of the Faith. The true believers may expect reward for their good deeds in the form of salvation. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "The head of the matter is Islam, its pillar is the prayer, and the top of its hump is striving (Jihad) in the way of Allah."(Fiqh-as-Sunnah: 1.75).
THE ROOT OF AFFIRMATION
The root of affirmation of in Islam is based on the conviction upon Allah's unity. In order to be a Muslim, one has to affirm that; “I believe in Allah (God), His angels, His books, His messengers, and Muhammad (peace be upon him) to be His Last Messenger, Resurrection after death, and that the good and evil of Destiny are from Allah Most High. I believe too in the accounting and the scales, hell and paradise. All the foregoing is reality.” “Allah (God) is One, not in a numerical sense, but in the sense that He has no partner”. According to Qur’an: “Say: He is Allah the One and Only; God the Eternal, the Uncaused Cause of All Being ; He begets not, and neither is He begotten; And there is nothing that can be compared with Him.”(Qur’an;112:1-4).
God does not resemble with any one of His creations, nor does anything among His creation resemble Him. He has been, unceasing, and He is, unceasing, with His names and attributes, both those relating to His Essence and those relating to His acts. As for those relating to His Essence, they are Life, Power, Knowledge, Speech, Hearing, Sight, and Will. As for those relating to His acts, they are Creativity, Sustenance, Originating and Fashioning out of nothing, making, and other active attributes. He has been, Unceasing, and He is, unceasing, with His attributes and names; Neither Attribute Nor Name was Created. He has always and unceasingly been a knower, by virtue of His knowledge, and His knowledge is a pre-eternal attribute. He has always and unceasingly been powerful, by virtue of His power, and His power is a pre-eternal attribute. He has always and unceasingly been speaking by virtue of His speech and His speech is a pre-eternal attribute. He has always and unceasingly been a creator, by virtue of His creativity, and His creativity is a pre-eternal attribute. He has always and unceasingly been an agent (power and authority to act), by virtue of His activity, and His activity is a pre-eternal attribute; the object of His activity is creation, and His activity is uncreated.
His attributes existed in pre-eternity, without being created or called into existence at a particular moment. If some one think that they are created or summoned into existence at a particular moment, or is un-certain about the attributes and doubts them, is in a state of confusion and fallacy. If someone experiences difficulty with the subtleties of the science of divine unity, it is incumbent upon him to believe (without further investigation) what is correct in the sight of Allah Most High until he finds a scholar to consult. He should not delay in seeking such a scholar, for hesitation and suspension of judgment may result in unbelief. The Shari‘a, preached and practiced by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is now the religion of Islam, which Allah has chosen for His servants: "Say, 'O mankind, I am Allah's Messenger to you all. To him belongs the Kingdom of the Heavens and the Earth; there is no god but He. He ordains life and death. So believe in Allah and His Messenger, the unlettered Prophet who believes in Allah and His words. Follow him so that you may be rightly guided"(Qur’an;7:158).
Application of Faith and Practices:
Allah has laid down five major principles (pillars) for practice of faith for Muslims, some are daily, some weekly, some monthly, some annually and some are required as a minimum of once in a lifetime. These principles of faith are to serve man's spiritual functions, satisfy his human needs and to mark his whole life with a Divine touch. Allah instructed the Muslims to practice what they believe in. The basic articles of faith are not new, they were applicable to the followers of previous messengers as well in various forms, it is mentioned in Qur’an: “And remember We took a covenant from the children of Israel (to this effect): worship none but Allah; (Shahada) treat with kindness your parents and kindred and orphans and those in need; speak fair to the people; be steadfast in prayer (Salah); and practice regular charity (Zakat). Then did ye turn back except a few among you and ye backslide (even now)”(Qur’an;2:83).
Any non Muslim joining the community of faithful of Islam has to first make a confession (Shahada) by testifying that: “La ilaha Illallah , Muhammad-ur- Rasul-Allah (None has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad, peace be upon him is the Messenger of Allah). The Muslim should believe in the six roots of affirmation: (1) Allah (One God), (2) His angels, (3) His Messengers, (4) His revealed Books, (5) The Day of Resurrection, and (6) Al-Qadar (Divine Preordainments i.e. whatever Allah has ordained must come to pass), then he should practice the five principles (pillars) of Islam, as narrated by Ibn Umar in the Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol. 1 HadithNo.7 : Allah's Messenger said: Islam is based on the following five (principles), which are also the forms of worship; the first two (Shahada & Salah) are daily, next two (Zakat & Saum) are annual and the last Hajj (Pilgrimage to Makka) is once in life:-
1. To testify (Shahada) that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad(peace be upon him) is Allah's Apostle. This is a spiritual form of worship.
2. To perform (iqamat as Salah), five canonical daily prayers. This is physical, spiritual and social for m of worship in congregation.
3. To pay Zakat (obligatory alms), a financial, social and spiritual form of worship.
4. To observe Saum (fast) during the month of Ramadan, a physical and spiritual form of worship.
5. To perform Hajj (Pilgrimage to Makka once in life time if one can afford financially and physically). This form of worship has physical, financial, social and spiritual aspects.
The Confession - Shahada: The 1st Pillar of Islam:
Creed of Confession (Shahada) is the verbal commitment and pledge to testify: “La ilaha Illallah , Muhammad-ur- Rasul-Allah” (None has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad, peace be upon him is the Messenger of Allah). This is the first step to a become a Muslims. This declaration of faith is a simple formula which all the faithful pronounce. Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the messenger of God, the last message of guidance has come through a messenger from among the men. This was also declared in Bible: ““Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together! Who told this long ago? Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the LORD? And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me. "Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.”(Isaiah; 45:21-22, also at Hosea; 13:4). Even in some of the writings of Paul, which the Church has taken to be sacred, Jesus (peace be upon him) is referred to as a “man”, distinct and different from God. Paul writes: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”(1Timothy;2:5).
The Islamic Creed of Confession (Shahada) has many aspects, as mentioned below:
a: To Pledge a Covenant with Allah:
To be a Muslim, one has to pledge a covenant with (Allah), the Creator of the heavens and earth, the Ruler of all that exists, the Lord of Majesty and Highness, on four points (or conditions):
b. Oneness of the Lordship of Allah (Tauhid-ar-Rububiyya):
A confession within heart that the Creator (of everything) is Allah; it is that to say; "I testify that the Creator of all the universe including the stars, the planets, the sun, the moon, the heavens, the earth with all its known and unknown forms of life, is Allah. He is the Organizer and Planner of all its affairs. It is He Who gives life and death, and He (i.e. Allah Alone) is the Sustainer, and the Giver of security." And this is called (confession for the)"Oneness of the Lordship of Allah," — ‘Tauhid-ar-Rububiyyah’. It also exist in Bible: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one;” (Deuteronomy; 6:4, & Mark 12:29).
c. Oneness of the Worship of Allah," ( Tauhld-al-Uluhiyyah):
A confession with in heart that: "I testify that none has the right to be ped but Allah Alone." The word "worship" ('Ibddah) carries a great number of meanings in the Islamic terminology: it conveys that all kinds of worship, obedience ise meant for Allah Alone (and none else, whether it be an angel, Messenger, Prophet 'Isa (Jesus) - son of Maryam (Mary), 'Uzair (Ezra), Muhammad, saint, idol, the sun, the moon and all other kinds of false deities.) So pray to none but Allah, invoke none but Allah, ask for help from none (unseen) but Allah, swear by none but Allah, offer an animal as sacrifice to none but Allah, etc, and that means; all that Allah and His Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) order to do, (in the Qur'an and in the Sunna one must do, and all that Allah and His Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) forbids must not be done. And this is called the confession of Muslim faithful for the "Oneness of the worship of Allah," -Tauhld-al-Uluhiyyah and that mankind worship none but Allah.
d. Oneness of the Names and Qualities of Allah (Tauhid-al-Asma'wal-Sifat):
A confession within heart that: "O Allah! I testify that all the best of names and the most perfect qualities with which You have named or qualified Yourself in Your Book (i.e. the Qur'an) or as Your Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has named or qualified You, with his statement, I believe that all those (names and qualities) are for You without changing their meanings or neglecting them completely or likening them (giving resemblance) to others." As Allah says: 'There is nothing like unto Him and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer."(Qur’an;42:11). This Verse confirms the quality of hearing and the quality of sight for Allah without likening them (giving resemblance) to others, and He also says :"To one whom I have created with Both My Hands," (Qur’an;38:75) and He also says :"The Hand of Allah is over their hands." (Qur’an;48:10). This confirms two Hands for Allah, but there is no similarity for them.
Similarly Allah says: "The Most Gracious (Allah) rose over (Istawa) the (Mighty) Throne (in a manner that suits His Majesty)." (Qur’an;20:5). So He rose over the Throne really in a manner that suits His Majesty. And Allah is over His Throne over the seventh heaven, as the slave-girl pointed towards the heavens, when Allah's Messenger (Muhammad, peace be upon him) asked her as to where Allah is. He comes down over the first (nearest) heaven to us during the last third part of every night and also on the day of 'Arafah (Hajj, i.e. the 9th of Dhul-Hijja), as mentioned by the Prophet (peace be upon him) but He is with us by His Knowledge, not by His Personal-Self (bi-Dhatihi). It is not, as some people say that Allah is present everywhere — here, there, and even inside the breasts of men. He sees and hears all that we do or utter. And this is called (confession for the) "Oneness of the Names and Qualities of Allah" — Tauhid-al-Asma' wal-Sifat and this is the right belief, the belief which was followed by the Messengers of Allah from Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, Jesus to Muhammad (peace be upon them all) the Companions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)] and his righteous followers.
e. A Confession within Heart:
"O Allah ! I testily that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is Your Messenger." That means that none has the right to be followed after Allah, but the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon them) as he is the last of His Messengers. Allah says: “Muhammad is not the father of any of your men (he is not going to leave any male heirs). He is the Messenger of Allah and the Seal (end) of the Prophets. Allah has the knowledge of all things.”(Qur’an;33:40)."And whatsoever the Messenger (Muhammad, peace be upon them) gives you, take it and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain from it,"(Qur’an;59:7). And Allah says :"Say (O Muhammad, to mankind): 'If you (really) love Allah, then follow me (i.e. accept Islamic Monotheism, follow The Qur'an and The Sunnah)."(Qur’an;3:31). As for others than Muhammad (peace be upon them), their statements are to be taken or rejected as to whether these are in accordance with Allah's Book (i.e. the Qur’an) and with the Sunnah (legal ways, orders, acts of worship, statements) of the Prophet (peace be upon them) or not. The system of Divine revelation has been discontinued after Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon them), it will not resume except at the time of the ‘Descent’ of Jesus, the son of Mary, who (Jesus) will rule the world with justice according to the Islamic laws, during the last days of the world as it has been mentioned in the authentic Hadith (narration of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him). (Sahih-Al-Bukhari, Vol.3, Hadith No.425).
f: Utterance of Confession - Shahada:
It is essential to utter: La ilaha Illallah , Muhammad-ur- Rasul-Allah (None has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad, peace be upon him is the Messenger of Allah). When Abu Dharr Al-Ghaffari embraced Islam, he went to Al-Masjdi-al-Haram (Ka’ba) and he publicly proclaimed it loudly in front of the Quraysh infidels until he was beaten severely. It is narrated by Said bin Al Musaiyab from his father in Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith. No.2.442 that : When the time of the death of Abu Talib (guardian uncle of Allah's Apostle) approached, Allah's Apostle went to him and found (pagan leaders ) Abu Jahl bin Hisham and 'Abdullah bin Abi Umaiya bin Al-Mughira by his side. Allah's Apostle said to Abu Talib, "O uncle! Say: None has the right to be worshipped but Allah, a sentence with which I shall be a witness (i.e. argue) for you before Allah." Abu Jahl and 'Abdullah bin Abi Umaiya said, "O Abu Talib! Are you going to denounce the religion of Abdul Muttalib?" Allah's Apostle kept on inviting Abu Talib to say it (i.e. 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah') while they (Abu Jahl and Abdullah) kept on repeating their statement till Abu Talib said as his last statement that he was on the religion of Abdul Muttalib and refused to say, 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah.' (Then Allah's Apostle said, "I will keep on asking Allah's forgiveness for you unless I am forbidden (by Allah) to do so." So Allah revealed (the verse) concerning him [i.e. “It is not fitting for the Prophet and those who believe that they should invoke (Allah) for forgiveness for pagans even though they be of kin, after it has become clear to them that they are companions of the fire” (Qur’an;9:113)].
The confession of Shahada 'La ilaha illal-lah,' will entitle a believer for intercession by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) on the Day of Judgment. According to Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith No. 9.507, Narrated by Anas, which is summarized; that the Prophet had said that Allah will gather the believers on the Day of Resurrection in the same way (as they are gathered in this life), and they will say, 'Let us ask someone to intercede for us with our Lord that He may relieve us from this place of ours.' Then they will go to each of prophets starting from Adam, Noah, Abraham and Moses who would all refuse due to some sin committed by them, finally the believers will go to Jesus who will say, 'I am not fit for this undertaking, but you'd better go to Muhammad whose sins of the past and the future had been forgiven (by Allah).' So they will come to Prophet Muhammad and he will ask the permission of the Lord. Allah would allow him to intercede (for a certain kind of people) and will fix a limit on believers for admittance into Paradise. The Prophet will keep on repeating request till he said: There will come out of Hell (Fire) everyone who says: 'La ilaha illal-lah,' and has in his heart good equal to the weight of a barley grain. Then there will come out of Hell (Fire) everyone who says: ' La ilaha illal-lah,' and has in his heart good equal to the weight of a wheat grain. Then there will come out of Hell (Fire) everyone who says: 'La ilaha illal-lah,' and has in his heart good equal to the weight of an atom (or a smallest ant)." The time interval between various batches of sinners may be perceived keeping in view the Time of Allah. His Day (epoch) may be a thousand or fifty thousand years (Qur’an;70:4 & 32:5) of human reckoning . He guides, rules, and controls all affairs: and in the immense Future all affairs will go up to Him, for He will be the Judge, and His restoration of all values will be as in a Day or an Hour or the Twinkling of an eye; and yet to human perception it will be as a thousand years!
g. Physical Display of Confession ( Shahada):
It is essential that the limbs and all the other parts and organs of one’s body testify to it, and this is very important as regards its meaning (i.e., the meaning of La ilaha Illallah , Muhammad-ur- Rasul-Allah (None has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad, peace be upon him, is the Messenger of Allah). So whoever has confessed this (to his Lord), he shall not commit sins like robbing, killing, stealing, illegal sexual intercourse, eating pork (meat of pig), drinking alcoholic beverages, taking undue advantage of orphan's property, cheating in trade, bribery and earning money through illegal means, telling lies, backbiting or otherwise the limbs and all the other parts and organs of his body will testify against him that he was a liar in his words which he pledged to Allah. In case he commits these sins, he should know that it is a sin that obliges him to repent to Allah, and ask His Forgiveness, as (his) body parts (i.e. skin, private parts, hands, tongue, ears will testify to the above mentioned crimes (i.e. actions) against himself on the Day of Resurrection.
With the confession of this great sentence (i.e. principle); La ilaha Illallah , Muhammad-ur- Rasul-Allah (None has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad, peace be upon him, is the Messenger of Allah) a person enters in the fold of the Islamic faith accordingly.
Jewish Creed- [Shema Yisrael]:
The Jewish faith recognizes a single creed called the Shmah or Shema Yisrael, a statement of faith in strict unitarian monotheism, the belief in one God. According to Old Testament: “You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,”(Deuteronomy; 5:7-9); “You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall serve him, and swear by his name. You shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the peoples who are round about you; for the LORD your God in the midst of you is a jealous God; lest the anger of the LORD your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth.” (Deuteronomy; 6:13-15). The Jewish creed is embodied in a single prayer recited at every prayer service: "Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One", also translated as "Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is unique, alone."In Hebrew this is pronounced phonetically: “ Shema Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Echad.”
Creed of Prophet Jesus, The Son of Mary (PBUH):
According to New Testament, Jesus (peace be upon him) said: “..Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength:..” (Mark;12:29-30), “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me”.(John; 5:30).
Christians- Nicene Creed:
The present day Christians don not adhere to the creed of Jesus, they use the ‘Nicene Creed’ most widely, followed by the ‘Apostles Creed’. This has elaborate statements concerning Christology and the Trinity. These reflect the concerns of the First Council of Nicaea in 325 C.E, and have their chief purpose, the rejection of Arianism doctrines which deny that Jesus was of the same substance as God and held the view instead that Jesus was only the highest of created beings. In the Roman Catholic liturgy the Nicene Creed is repeated during each Mass. The Nicene Creed clearly derives from the Apostles' Creed which states: “We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered, died, and was buried. On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated on the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.”
PRAYER; THE 2ND PILLAR OF ISLAM
The performance of the daily prayers (salah) five times, to Allah is required of Muslims while facing towards the direction of Ka’ba. Salah is a direct link between the worshipper and Allah. Establishment of regular prayer and payment of Zakat (Charity) has been repeatedly mentioned in Qur’an: “Establish worship (aqimus salat), pay the poor-due(zakat), and bow your heads with those who bow (in worship)”(Qur’an;2:43). It is general misconception that the five prayers in a day are only practiced in the present day Islam which is the revived faith of Abraham. Prayers have been part of Islam right from the beginning. Once Abraham settled his son Isma’il at Makka he prayed: “O’ our Lord! I have settled some of my offspring in a barren valley near Your Sacred House. Our Lord! I have done this in the hope that they would establish Salah, therefore, turn the hearts of the people toward them and provide them with fruits so that they may give thanks.”(Qur’an;14:37)."O my Lord! make me one who establishes regular Prayer and also (raise such) among my offspring O our Lord! and accept my Prayer.”(Qur’an;14:40). Prophet Shuaib (peace be upon him) was opposed by his people for insisting for prayer: “They said: O Shuaib! Doth thy way of prayer command thee that we should forsake that which our fathers (used to) worship,”(Qur’an;11:87). Prophet Zechariah and Jesus (peace be upon them) offered prayers: “And the angels called to him (Zechariah) as he stood praying in the sanctuary: “(Qur’an;3:39), “..and hath enjoined on me(Jesus) Prayer and Charity as long as I live;”(Qur’an;19:31). “Not all of them are alike: of the People of the book are a portion that stand (for the right); they rehearse the signs of Allah all night long and then prostrate themselves in adoration.”(Qur’an;3:113). The prayers have always been five times a day, as mentioned in the Hadith narrated by Abdullah Ibn Abbas: The Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Gabriel (peace be upon him) led me in prayer at the House (i.e. the Ka'bah). He prayed the noon prayer with me when the sun had passed the meridian to the extent of the thong of a sandal; he prayed the afternoon prayer with me when the shadow of everything was as long as itself; he prayed the sunset prayer with me when one who is fasting breaks the fast; he prayed the night prayer with me when the twilight had ended; and he prayed the dawn prayer with me when food and drink become forbidden to one who is keeping the fast. On the following day he prayed the noon prayer with me when his shadow was as long as himself; he prayed the afternoon prayer with me when his shadow was twice as long as himself; he prayed the sunset prayer at the time when one who is fasting breaks the fast; he prayed the night prayer with me when about the third of the night had passed; and he prayed the dawn prayer with me when there was a fair amount of light. Then turning to me he said: Muhammad, this is the time observed by the prophets before you, and the time is anywhere between two times”. (Sunan of Abu-Dawood Hadith 393). The three payers practiced by Jews were evolved by combining two prayers as practiced by Shi’a Muslims (Zohar with Asar and Maghrib with Isha). The prayer of a Muslim is not complete without recitation of The Opening Chapter (Surah Fateha) of Qur’an; “In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful. All praise is for Allah, the 'Lord of the Worlds. The Compassionate, the Merciful. Master of the Day of Judgment. O' Allah! You Alone we worship and You Alone we call on for help. O' Allah! Guide us to The Right Way. The Way of those whom You have favored; not of those who have earned Your wrath, or of those who have lost The Way.”(Qur’an;1:1-7).
Prayers in Bible:
Similar prayers had been revealed in the previous divine scriptures, in Bible: “The LORD passed before him, and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation.”(Exodus; 34:6-7), “Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; And forgive us our debts, As we also have forgiven our debtors; And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil.”(Mathew;6:9-13) and also in Psalms; 7:1-17 and 8:1-9. Offering the prayers (Salah) has been repeatedly mentioned in Bible: “And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.”(Genesis; 17:3-5). “And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD”.(Genesis; 18:22 ). “And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.” (Genesis; 22:5). “And he built an altar there, and called upon the name of the LORD, and pitched his tent there: and there Isaac's servants dug a well”.(Genesis; 26:25). “And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he built an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD”. (Genesis; 12:8). “And the people believed: and when they heard that the LORD had visited the children of Israel, and that he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped.”(Exodus; 4:31).“And they said, The God of the Hebrews hath met with us: let us go, we pray thee, three days' journey into the desert, and sacrifice unto the LORD our God; lest he fall upon us with pestilence, or with the sword.”(Exodus; 5:3). “Ye shall no more give the people straw to make brick, as heretofore: let them go and gather straw for themselves.”(Exodus; 5:7).“And the tale of the bricks, which they did make heretofore, ye shall lay upon them; ye shall not diminish ought thereof: for they be idle; therefore they cry, saying, Let us go and sacrifice to our God.” (Exodus; 5:8).“And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped. And he said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us; for it is a stiff necked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance.”(Exodus; 34:8-9).
The Jews prayed with their faces toward the temple and Jerusalem: “What prayer and supplication so ever be made by any man, or by all thy people Israel, which shall know every man the plague of his own heart, and spread forth his hands toward this house:”(1Kings;8:38);“If thy people go out to battle against their enemy, whithersoever thou shalt send them, and shall pray unto the LORD toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house that I have built for thy name:”(1Kings;8:44); “And so return unto thee with all their heart, and with all their soul, in the land of their enemies, which led them away captive, and pray unto thee toward their land, which thou gave unto their fathers, the city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name:” (1Kings;8:48);“Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.” (Daniel;6:10). “But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple.” (Psalm; 5:7).“As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me.” (Psalm; 55:16). “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.” (Psalm; 55:17). “All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name.” (Psalms; 86:9). “The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land”. (Psalm; 95:5). “O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker”. (Psalm; 95:6). “I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy loving kindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name”. (Psalm; 138:2). “When thy people Israel be smitten down before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee, and shall turn again to thee, and confess thy name, and pray, and make supplication unto thee in this house:” (1 Kings; 8:33).“Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest unto their fathers.”(1 Kings; 8:34). “Stand in the gate of the LORD's house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD.” (Jeremiah; 7:2). “And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:” (Daniel; 9:3). “And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the LORD until the eventide (The period between afternoon and night), he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads”(Joshua;7:6).
“And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.”(Mathew;14:23).“Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting”.(Mathew; 17:21). “Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder”. (Mathew; 26:36). “And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt”. (Mathew; 26:39). “Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour”.(Acts; 3:1). “On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour:” (Acts; 10:9).“And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.”(Acts; 12:12).“And on the Sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.”(Acts; 16:13).“And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.”(Acts; 16:25). “And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all.”(Acts; 20:36).“And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.”(Luke; 22: 44-46).“And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.”(Mark; 1:35). “And he (Jesus) said unto them (disciples), This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting”.( Mark; 9:29).
Importance of Prayers in Islam:
The importance of prayer is mentioned in Qur’an: “Recite what is sent of the Book by inspiration to thee and establish Regular Prayer: for Prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds; and remembrance of Allah is the greatest (thing in life) without doubt. And Allah knows the (deeds) that ye do”.(Qur’an;29:45). Salah is the best way to cultivate in a man a sound personality and to actualize his aspiration. In salah, the body joins the soul and the mind in the worship and glory of Allah. Salah is an act of worship. It is a matchless and unprecedented method of intellectual meditation and spiritual devotion, of moral elevation and physical exercise, all combined. Offering of salah is obligatory upon every Muslim male and female who is sane, mature and in case of women free from menstruation and confinement due to child birth.
Daily Five Canonical Prayers:
The daily five canonical Prayers are offered at dawn (Fajar), noon (Zuhr), mid-afternoon (Asar), sunset (Magharab) and nightfall (Isha), and thus determine the rhythm of the entire day as practiced by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), his companions and mentioned at different places in Qur’an: “And establish regular prayers at the two ends of the day (Fajr & Asar or Maghrab) and at the approaches of the night (Asar, Maghrab & Isha): for those things that are good remove those that are evil: be that the word of remembrance to those who remember (their Lord),(Qur’an;11:114). Guard strictly your (habit of) prayers especially the middle prayer (Asar) and stand before Allah in a devout (frame of mind).(Qur’an;2:238). Therefore be patient with what they say and celebrate (constantly) the praises of thy Lord before the rising of the sun (Fajr) and before its setting (Asar); yea celebrate them for part of the hours of the night (Magrib & Isha,) and at the sides of the day (Fajar & Maghrab): that thou mayest have (spiritual) joy.(Qur’an;20:130). Establish regular prayers at the sun's decline (Zuhr) till the darkness of the night (Zuhr, Asar, Maghrab & Isha) and the morning prayer (Fajr) and reading: for the prayer and reading in the morning carry their testimony.(Qur’an;17:78). “So (give) glory to Allah when ye reach eventide and when ye rise in the morning (Fajr); Yea To Him be praise in the heavens and on earth; and in the late afternoon (Asar) and when the day begins to decline (Zuhr) (Qur’an;30:17-18).
Salah should be offered in its due time, unless there is a reasonable excuse. Delayed obligatory salah must be made up. In addition to the prescribed salah, a Muslim expressed gratitude to God and appreciation of His favours and asks for His mercy all the time. Especially at times of, for example: childbirth, marriage, going to or rising from bed, leaving and returning to his home, starting a journey or entering a city, riding or driving, before or after eating or drinking, harvesting, visiting graveyards and at the time of distress and sickness. Cleanliness, purity and ablution has always been obligatory for prayer, it is mentioned in Bible: “And Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet there at:” (Exodus; 40:31). “Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them”.(Acts; 21:26). Qur’an has provided relaxation in the ablution, if there is scarcity of water then dry ablution (tayamum) is permitted : “ye who believe! When ye rise up for prayer, wash your face, and your hands up to the elbows, and lightly rub your heads and (wash) your feet up to the ankles. And if ye are unclean, purify yourselves. And if ye are sick or on a journey, or one of you cometh from the closet, or ye have had contact with women, and ye find not water, then go to clean, high ground and rub your faces and your hands with some of it. Allah would not place a burden on you, but He would purify you and would perfect His grace upon you, that ye may give thanks.” (Qur’an;5:6).
There is no hierarchical authority in Islam, and no priests, so the prayers are led by a respectable, pious and learned among Muslims, who knows and can accurately recite the Qur’an in Arabic. He may be chosen or be acceptable to the congregation. In each of the five prayers Surah Fateha (The first Chapter of Qur’an) and some verses from the Qur’an are and recited in Arabic, the original language of the Revelation, which are words of Allah; It is mentioned in Qur’an: “We have given thee seven of the oft repeated (verses) and the great Qur’an.”(Qur’an;15:87).
The personal supplication (Du’a) can be offered in one's own language. Although it is preferable to worship together in a mosque, a Muslim may pray almost anywhere at a clean place, such as in fields, offices, factories and universities. Prayers are central in the daily routine of Muslims. Before the prayer congregation the call to the prayer (Adhan) is pronounce loudly. The Call to Prayer is translated as : “God is most great. God is most great. God is most great. God is most great. I testify that there is non worthy of worship except Allah. I testify that there is non worthy of worship except Allah. I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God. I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God. Come to prayer! Come to prayer! Come to success (in this life and the Hereafter)! Come to success! God is most great. God is most great. there is non worthy of worship except Allah”.
Initially for over an year, the Muslims prayed while facing towards Jerusalem, but during the Prophet's lifetime, during his stay at Medina, the direction of prayer (Qibla) was changed to Ka’ba at Makka through a divine decree. This is just a direction for the uniformity, Muslims worship and pray to Allah alone.
Bigger Congregational Prayers:
Apart form five daily prayers there is weekly bigger congregation prayer on every Friday (Jummah): “O ye who believe! when the call is proclaimed to prayer on Friday (the Day of Assembly) hasten earnestly to the Remembrance of Allah and leave off business (and traffic): that is best for you if ye but knew!”(Qur’an;62:9). Special prayer is offered on Eid-ul-fitr & Eid-ul-Azha in bigger congregations. The prayer leader (Imam) delivers the sermon at the Friday noon community prayers and on special Eid prayers from the pulpit (minbar). Traditionally the Caliphs and Muslims rulers in the medieval period used to personally deliver the sermons on Fridays and Eid prayers; this tradition is now hardly followed.
There are other community prayers like the funeral prayer, special prayer for rains or to ward off calamities etc. Late mid night (Tuhajjud) prayer was obligatory for the Prophet (peace be upon him) while it is an additional voluntary prayer for the Muslims, Allah says in Qur’an: “And pray in the small watches of the morning: (it would be) an additional prayer (or spiritual profit) for thee: soon will thy Lord raise thee to a station of Praise and Glory!(Qur’an;17:79). Muslims have been provided the facility to shorten the prayer during journey and war, according to Qur’an: “When ye travel through the earth there is no blame on you if ye shorten your prayers for fear the unbelievers may attack you: for the unbelievers are unto you open enemies.”(Qur’an;4:101).
The detailed methodology of offering prayer has been worked out by respective jurists of fives schools of thought in fiqah based on the traditions of Prophet (peace be upon him). Prayer and almsgiving are very important pillars of Islam, Allah says in Qur’an: “Such as persevere in seeking their Lord's countenance and are regular in prayer and spend of that which We bestow upon them secretly and openly, and overcome evil with good. Theirs will be the sequel of the (heavenly) Home.”(Qur’an;13:22).“And be steadfast in prayer (Salah)and regular in charity (Zakat): and whatever good ye send forth for your souls before you ye shall find it with Allah; for Allah sees well all that ye do.”(Qur’an;2:110).
OBLIGATORY ALMS –ZAKAT; THE 3rd PILLAR OF ISLAM
Zatak is an important worship which involves looking after the deprived and underprivileged in the community. It involves annual payment of a certain percentage of a Muslim's assets which is distributed among the poor or other rightful beneficiaries. One of the most important principles of Islam is that every thing belongs to God, and that wealth is therefore held by human beings in trust. The word Zakat means both 'purification' and 'growth'. The possessions are purified by setting aside a proportion for those in need, like the pruning of plants, which balances and encourages new growth; Zakat also results in spiritual growth. Each Muslim calculates his or her own Zakat individually. For most purposes two and a half percent of surplus capital & assets is given is alms (Zakat). The Zakat percentage is different on agriculture produce and live stock and other sources. Any Muslims may also give as much as he or she pleases as Sadaqa, and may do so preferably in secret. Zakat has always been part of previous divine scriptures and the massagers of God had been emphasizing its payment, which is mentioned in Qur’an at 2:83, 70:24, 5:121, 9:55, 19:31 & 21;73.
Zakat in Bible:
This has also been emphasized in Bible: “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Thus speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up an heave offering of it for the LORD, even a tenth part of the tithe.”(Numbers;18:25-26). ““All the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the Lord’s; it is holy to the LORD. If a man wishes to redeem any of his tithe, he shall add a fifth to it. And all the tithe of herds and flocks, every tenth animal of all that pass under the herdsman's staff, shall be holy to the LORD.”(Leviticus;27:30-32). “Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year.” (Deuteronomy;14:22).“At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates: And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest.”(Deuteronomy;14:28-29).“When thou hast made an end of tithing all the tithes of thine increase the third year, which is the year of tithing, and hast given it unto the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat within thy gates, and be filled;” (Deuteronomy;26:12). “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins” (1 Peter;4:8). “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, justice, mercy, and faith: these ought you to have done, and not to leave the other undone. You blind guides, who strain out a gnat, and swallow a camel”.(Mathew;23:23-24).
In Christian thought, charity is the highest form of love, signifying the reciprocal love between God and man that is made manifest in unselfish love of one's fellow men. St. Paul's classical description of love (charity) is found in the New Testament (1 Corinthians; Chapter:13). In Christian theology and ethics, charity (a translation of the Greek word agape, also meaning "love") is most eloquently shown in the life, teachings, and end of Jesus Christ.
St. Augustine summarized much of Christian thought about charity when he wrote: "Charity is a virtue which, when our affections are perfectly ordered, unites us to God, for by it we love him." Using this definition and others from the Christian tradition, the medieval theologians, especially St. Thomas Aquinas, placed charity in the context of the other Christian virtues and specified its role as "The Foundation or Root" of them all. Although the controversies of the Reformation dealt more with the definition of faith than with either hope or charity, the Reformers identified the uniqueness of God's agape for man as unmerited love; therefore, they required that charity, as man's love for man, be based not upon the desirability of its object but upon the transformation of its subject through the power of divine agape. The agape or feast of charity among the early Christians depended on the will of individuals and their influence; hence it was irregular and occasional. It is matter of history that the very irregularity led to the suppression of the ‘feasts of charity’ or love feast only short time after their introduction. Modern philosophical discussions of charity have compared it to other terms and concepts of love, notably to eros, which is understood as desire or yearning.
Significance of Zakat in Islam:
Payment of Zakat has been repeatedly mentioned in Qur’an along with offering of Prayers (Salah): “..and establish regular Prayer and give regular Charity; and loan to Allah a Beautiful Loan. And whatever good ye send forth for your souls Ye shall find it in Allah's presence yea better and greater in Reward. And seek ye the Grace of Allah: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful.” (Qur’an;73:20). Qur’an has mentioned about recipients of Alms: “Alms are for the poor and the needy and those employed to administer the (funds); for those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled (to truth); for those in bondage and in debt; in the cause of Allah; and for the wayfarer: (thus is it) ordained by Allah and Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom”.(Qur’an;9:60).
Zakat is an obligatory worship, while Sadqa is a voluntary charity. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: 'Even meeting your brother with a cheerful face is charity.' The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: 'Charity is a necessity for every Muslim.' He was asked: 'What if a person has nothing?' The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: 'He should work with his own hands for his benefit and then give something out of such earnings in charity.' The Companions asked: 'What if he is not able to work?' The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: 'He should help poor and needy persons.' The Companions further asked 'What if he cannot do even that?' The Prophet (peace be upon him) said 'He should urge others to do good.' The Companions said 'What if he lacks that also?' The Prophet (peace be upon him) said 'He should check himself from doing evil, this is also charity.'
Methodology of Implementation:
Following two Hadiths indicate the methodology of implementation of pillars of Islam:-
A Bedouin with unkempt hair came to Allah's Apostle and said, "O Allah's Apostle! Tell me what Allah has enjoined on me as regards prayers." The Prophet said, "You have to offer perfectly the five (compulsory) prayers in a day and a night (24 hrs.), except if you want to perform some extra optional prayers." The bedouin said, "Tell me what Allah has enjoined on me as regards fasting." The Prophet said, "You have to observe fast during the month of Ramadan except if you fast some extra optional fast." The bedouin said, "Tell me what Allah has enjoined on me as regards Zakat." The Prophet then told him the Islamic laws and regulations whereupon the bedouin said, "By Him Who has honored you, I will not perform any optional deeds of worship and I will not leave anything of what Allah has enjoined on me." Allah's Apostle said, "He will be successful if he has told the truth (or he will enter Paradise if he said the truth)." And some people said, "The Zakat for one-hundred and twenty camels is two Hiqqas, and if the Zakat payer slaughters the camels intentionally or gives them as a present or plays some other trick in order to avoid the Zakat, then there is no harm (in it) for him." (Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith.No. 9.88, Narrated by Talha bin Ubaidullah).
When Allah's Apostle (peace be upon him) sent Muadh to Yemen, he said (to him), "You are going to people of a (Divine) Book. First of all invite them to worship Allah (alone) and when they come to know Allah, inform them that Allah has enjoined on them, five prayers in every day and night; and if they start offering these prayers, inform them that Allah has enjoined on them, the Zakat. And it is to be taken from the rich amongst them and given to the poor amongst them; and if they obey you in that, take Zakat from them and avoid (don't take) the best property of the people as Zakat." (Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith.No. 2.537, Narrated by Ibn Abbas)
FASTING; THE 4TH PILLAR OF ISLAM
Every year in the month of Ramadan, all Muslims fast from early morning till sunset, abstaining from food, drink, and sexual relations (with wife). It is a unique Islamic way of worship which creates sincere love to God. Fasting infuses creative sense of hope, devotion, patience, unselfishness, moderation, willpower, wise saving, sound budgeting, mature adaptability, healthy survival, discipline, spirit of social belonging, unity and brotherhood. The tradition of Fasting as a unique form of worship, different form Prayer and Zakat. This is very old form of worship which existed in very old societies. It is mentioned in Qur’an: “O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, even as it was prescribed for those before you, that ye may ward off (evil);”(Qur’an;2:183).
Fasting Mentioned in Bible:
Prophet Jonah (Younas, peace be upon him) was sent to one of the nations in the area of the old civilizations of Nineveh and Babylon. His people initially denied him but later followed him. It is mentioned in the Bible: “So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.”(Jonah; 3:5-8).“And the LORD said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel. And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.”(Exodus; 34:27-28). “And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you: For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD.”(Leviticus; 16:29-30). “Then all the children of Israel, and all the people, went up, and came unto the house of God, and wept, and sat there before the LORD, and fasted that day until even, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.” (Judges; 20:26). “And they mourned, and wept, and fasted until even, for Saul, and for Jonathan his son, and for the people of the LORD, and for the house of Israel; because they were fallen by the sword.”(2 Samuel; 1:12).“David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth.” (2 Samuel; 12:16). “And the LORD spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying, Let the children of Israel also keep the Passover at his appointed season. In the fourteenth day of this month, at even, ye shall keep it in his appointed season: according to all the rites of it, and according to all the ceremonies thereof, shall ye keep it.”(Numbers; 9:1-3). “But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom.” (Psalms; 35:13).“Therefore go thou, and read in the roll, which thou hast written from my mouth, the words of the LORD in the ears of the people in the Lord’s house upon the fasting day: and also thou shall read them in the ears of all Judah that come out of their cities.” (Jeremiah; 36:6). “Therefore also now, says the LORD, turn you even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And tear your hearts, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and relents from sending calamity”.(Joel; 2:12-13). “And the word of the LORD of hosts came unto me, saying, Thus said the LORD of hosts; The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts; therefore love the truth and peace.” (Zechariah; 8:18).“Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.”(Mathew; 16:16-18).“As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.” (Acts; 13:2-3). “And he (Jesus) said unto them (disciples), This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.”(Mark; 9:29). “Howbeit this kind goes not out but by prayer and fasting”(Mathew; 17:21). “And he (Jesus) said unto them (disciples), This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting”(Mark; 9:29).
Significance of Fasting (Saum) in Islam:
The significance of Fasting has been emphasized in Qur’an: “The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance, and the Criterion (of right and wrong). And whosoever of you is present, let him fast the month, and whosoever of you is sick or on a journey, (let him fast the same) number of other days. Allah desires for you ease; He desires not hardship for you; and (He desires) that ye should complete the period, and that ye should magnify Allah for having guided you, and that peradventure ye may be thankful.” (Qur’an;2:185). Narrated by Abu Huraira: Allah's Apostle said, "Allah said, 'All the deeds of Adam's sons (people) are for them, except fasting which is for Me, and I will give the reward for it.' Fasting is a shield or protection from the fire and from committing sins. If one of you is fasting, he should avoid sexual relation with his wife and quarreling, and if somebody should fight or quarrel with him, he should say, 'I am fasting.' By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, the unpleasant smell coming out from the mouth of a fasting person is better in the sight of Allah than the smell of musk. There are two pleasures for the fasting person, one at the time of breaking his fast, and the other at the time when he will meet his Lord; then he will be pleased because of his fasting."(Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 3.128).
Apart from obligatory one month fasting in Ramadan; the voluntary fasting brings higher rewards if done on every Monday and Thursday of every week, three days in the middle of each Islamic month, six days after Ramadan following the Feast Day and a few days of the two months before Ramadan. The Muslims have been allowed to eat (Sehri) till early morning, thereafter they abstain from eating and drinking till sunset (Maghrib). Muslims take special care to avoid all bad and prohibited acts and sins and try to do all good acts to seek pleasure of Allah. Extra prayers (Tawraweeh) are offered after Isha prayer, in which the prayer leader (Imam ) complete one recitation of Qur’an in this holy month. The Muslims under take extensive recitation of Qur’an on daily basis to complete at least one recitation of whole Qur’an in the holy month of Ramadan. Fasting in the month of Ramadan is a an act of worship which is obligatory on every adult Muslim, male or female who are mentally and physically fit and not on a journey. Those who are sick, elderly, or on a journey, and women who are pregnant, menstruating or nursing are permitted to break the fast and make up an equal number of days later in the year. If they are physically unable to do this, they must feed a needy person for every day missed. Children begin to fast (and to observe the prayer) from puberty, although many start earlier. Although the fast is most beneficial to the health, it is regarded principally as a method of self-purification. By cutting oneself off from worldly comforts, even for a short time, a fasting person gains true sympathy with those who go hungry while growing the spiritual life. Revelation of Qur’an was started during this month, the last tend days are specially revered because ‘The Night of Power’ (Lailatulqadar) is expected to fall in this period. Allah says: “We have indeed revealed this (Message) in the night of Power: And what will explain to thee what the Night of Power is? The Night of Power is better than a thousand Months. Therein come down the angels and the Spirit by Allah's permission on every errand: Peace!... This until the rise of Morn!”(Qur’an;97:1-5). Some Muslims perform aitekaf by staying and spending last ten days & nights in the mosque in solitude for devotion and prayers as practiced by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). At the end of Ramadan (month of fasting) the feast of Eid-ul-fitr is celebrated by offering special prayer and paying alms (fitrah) to the poor.
PILGRIMAGE–HAJJ; The 5TH PILLAR
The Hajj (Pilgrimage) is performed by Muslims every year to revive the memory of pronouncement of Islamic monotheism (Tawheed) by Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) and his son Prophet Isma’il (peace be upon him) at Makka about four millennium ago. Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) was issueless, at old age Allah blessed him with first son, Isma’il through his second wife Hajira (Hagar). It is mentioned in Bible: “So, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, Sar'ai, Abram's wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her maid, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife.”(Genisis;16:3), “And Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael.” (Genisis;16:15). Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) had to leave his infant son with his mother Hajirah in the wilderness at Makka, both survived miraculously due to the Will of Allah and prospered there. Many years later (probably 12-13 years) he returned to sacrifice Isma’il as willing obedience for the pleasure of God.
The great gesture was accepted by Allah, Abraham was again successful in the trial; hence instead of Isma’il, a ram was sacrificed. Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) rebuilt the Ka’ba along with his son Isma’il on the foundations of the first house of worship of One God first built by Prophet Adam (peace be upon him). Allah says in Qur’an. "Verily, the first house (of worship) appointed for mankind was that in Baca (Mecca), full of blessing, and guidance for all people." (Qur’an;3:96 ). The Bible also mentions about Baca: “As they go through the valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools.”(Psalms;84:6). Baca; in the ancient dialect is synonymous with Makkah. The spring is known as the Zamzam.
Apex Collective Worship:
Hajj is an apex worship performed collectively in which the pilgrimage gather from all over the world, offering the sacrifice of their wealth (financial expenditure in traveling), physical discomfort and sacrifice of animal, to keep the tradition (Sunnah) of Abram alive. Hence the Hajj reminds the trials and tribulations of Prophet Abraham(peace be upon him), his wife Hajira (Hagar) and his eldest son, Prophet Isma’il (peace be upon him). The Jews due to historic jealousy claim that Abraham offered the sacrifice of his second son Isaac, not Isma’il (the ancestor of Arabs) though the historical evidence through traditions and Bible suggest contrary: “He (God) said, "Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Mori'ah, and offer him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”(Genesis; 22:2). If at anytime, an offspring of Abraham (peace be upon him) can be described as “your only son” it could only be Isma’il (Ishmael), because for more than thirteen years, he was the only son and seed of Abraham (peace be upon him). It is the tradition to offer the sacrifice of firstling, moreover the difference of age between Isma’il and Isaac was about 12 or 13 years, so Isaac would have been just a toddler at that time.
The Rituals of Hajj in Brief:
The annual pilgrimage to Makka, the Hajj, is an obligation, once in life time, only for those who are physically and financially able to perform it. Nevertheless, about two million people go to Makka each year from every corner of the globe providing a unique opportunity for the Muslims of different areas of the world to meet one another. Although Makka is always filled with visitors performing Umrah (minor pilgrimage), the annual Hajj begins in the twelfth month of the Islamic year (which is lunar, not solar, so that Hajj and Ramadan fall sometimes in summer, sometimes in winter). Pilgrims (called Hajjis or Hujaj) men wear special clothes called Ahram, comprising two unstitched simple white sheets which strip away distinctions of class and culture, so that all stand equal before God. There are many restrictions associated with Ahram, like avoiding sexual relations with wife or hunting of animals, not cutting nails or hair, avoid fighting etc. The women wear normal modest clean dress covering their head but face remains uncovered. The main Hajj rituals have been mentioned in Qur’an while the details are given in books of Hadith & Sunnah. In brief, first the circumambulation of Ka’ba is done seven times, followed by ‘Sai (circumambulation) of Safa and Marwa (small hills adjacent to Ka’ba, now just signs remain) seven times. On 8 Zulhajj, Hajjis proceed to Minna and stay there. Next morning (9 Zulhajj) they proceed to Arafat, the pilgrims stand together on the wide plain of Arafa, listen to the Hajj Sermon before Zuhar and join in prayers for Allah's forgiveness, often thought of as a preview of the Last Judgment, then offer shortened Zohar (noon) and Asar (after noon) prayers combined, continue to offer supplications and prayers, Zikar (remembrance of Allah) and after sunset move to Muzdalfa. There shortened combined prayers of Maghrab (evening) and Isha (early night) are offered and stay for the night. After Fajar (morning) prayer, Hajjis remain busy in supplications, Zikar and prayers.
After sunset they move to Mina and throw seven small stones at Jumrah Aqba (symbolic stoning the Satan at the place where Satan tried to beguile Abraham from offering sacrifice of his son Isma’il). The sacrifice of animal is done followed by shaving off the head or cutting some hair, then the Ahram is removed and normal dress is worn. The seven times circumambulation of Ka’ba (followed by seven times circumambulation of Safa and Marwa is done if not done initially). The circumambulation between the hills of Safa and Marwa, the selected altar for sacrifice of Isma’il, is an important rite of Hajj called ‘Sai’.
There are two events related to ‘Sai’, according to first; Abraham stood at the hill of Safa and looked at the altar (Marwa), then walked at quick pace towards Marwa (hill) to fulfill the desire of God to sacrifice his son. This incidence has been mentioned in Bible though for Isma’il, they incorporated Isaac, but the word ‘only son’ signifying Isma’il still remains at Genesis; 22:2: “Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.”(Genesis; 22:4-5). Hence the circumambulation between of Safa and Marwa, is like the rite of moving of the sacrificial thing prior to the sacrifice, later circumambulation was done with the piece of the sacrifice, according to Bible: “And thou shalt take the breast of the ram of Aaron's consecration, and wave it for a wave offering before the LORD: and it shall be thy part.” (Exodus;29:26).
The other significance of this ritual is to commemorate the act of running between Safa and Marwa by Hagar to look for the source of water for her thirsty child (Isma’il) left in the wilderness by Abraham on will of Allah, (Fiqh-us-Sunnah: 5.85). The Hajjis return to Mina and stay for 2 or 3 days. Daily they throw seven stones first at Jumra Ola (1st), then Jumra Wasta (middle) and then Jumra Alakhar (last), the places where Satan thrice tried to beguile Abraham to disobey Allah, not to scarify his son. The distances between various places are manageable, most of the pilgrimage prefer to move by foot while some use transport specially while moving to and form Arafa.
The original rites of Hajj could not remain intact due to the long period form time of Abraham and Isma’il (peace be upon them). However the original sanctity of Hajj was restored by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) by removing the pagan practices. The rituals of the sacrifice of an animal is performed in commemoration of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his even willing and obedient son Isma’il to fulfill the command of Allah which was substituted with the ram provided by Allah.
Offering Sacrifice- Old Tradition:
The worship through offering sacrifice to Allah started from the time of Adam. It is mentioned in Qur’an: “But recite unto them with truth the tale of the two sons of Adam, how they offered each a sacrifice, and it was accepted from the one of them and it was not accepted from the other. (The one) said: I will surely kill thee. (The other) answered: Allah accepts only from those who ward off (evil).”(Qur’an;5:27).
It has been explained in the Bible that Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock: “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.(Genesis; 4:1-5). The sacrifice has always been part of Abrahamic faith. It is mentioned in the Bible: “And thou shalt bring the Levites before the LORD: and the children of Israel shall put their hands upon the Levites: And Aaron shall offer the Levites before the LORD for an offering of the children of Israel, that they may execute the service of the LORD. And the Levites shall lay their hands upon the heads of the bullocks: and thou shall offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering, unto the LORD, to make an atonement for the Levites. And thou shall set the Levites before Aaron, and before his sons, and offer them for an offering unto the LORD. Thus shall thou separate the Levites from among the children of Israel: and the Levites shall be mine. And after that shall the Levites go in to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation: and thou shall cleanse them, and offer them for an offering. For they are wholly given unto me from among the children of Israel; instead of such as open every womb, even instead of the firstborn of all the children of Israel, have I taken them unto me.”(Numbers; 8:10-16).
Old Tradition in the Abrahamic Faith:
There is a very old tradition in the Abrahamic faith, that the person making an offering (sacrifice) to God should not cut his hair till completion of his offering, it is also mentioned in Bible:” “All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in which he separates himself unto the LORD, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow.” (Numbers;6:5).“And this is the law of the Nazarite, when the days of his separation are fulfilled: he shall be brought unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: ”(Numbers; :13).“And the Nazarite shall shave the head of his separation at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall take the hair of the head of his separation, and put it in the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace offerings.”(Numbers;6:18).
The Muslims cut their hair in Hajj after offering the sacrifice, as part of this tradition of Abrahamic faith. The sacrifice of an animal is now a permanent tradition, performed by all adult Muslims (even those not performing Hajj) who can afford, it is part of Eid-ul-Azha feast and celebrations. Traditionally one third of sacrificial meat is given to the poor. The small Hajj (Haj-Aashghar) or Umrah can be performed by Muslims throughout the year. However: “If you are hale and secure then who wants to take the advantage of performing Umrah and Hajj together, he should make an offering which he can afford; but if he lack the means, let him fast three days during the Hajj and seven days on his return making ten days in all.”(Qur’an;2:196). Though not obligatory but most Muslim make it a point to visit the Prophet’s Mosque at Medina during pilgrimage (Hajj or Umrah) period.
Faith and Other Aspects:
Deeds and Faith:
The acceptance of the righteous deeds depends on the two basic conditions which must be fulfilled: (1) The intentions for good deeds must be totally for Allah's sake, without any show off or gaining praise or fame, etc. (2) Such a deed must be performed in accordance with the Sunnah (legal ways, orders, acts of worship, statements) of Allah's Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him), the seal (end) of all the Prophets and the Messengers.
Allah cautions to guard against loss of deeds He says in Qur’an: "Do then those who disbelieve think that they can take My slaves (i.e. the angels; Allah's Messengers; Jesus, son of Mary as Auliya' (lords, gods, protectors) besides Me? Verily, We have prepared Hell as an entertainment for the disbelievers. “Say: (O Muhammad) Shall we tell you of those who lose most in respect of their deeds? "Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life while they thought that they were acquiring good by their works?" They are those who deny the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of their Lord and the fact of their having to meet Him (in the Hereafter): vain will be their works nor shall We on the Day of Judgment give them any Weight. That is their reward Hell; because they rejected Faith and took My Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc) and My Messengers by way of jest. As to those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah- Islamic Monotheism) and work righteous deeds they have for their entertainment the Gardens of Paradise. Wherein they shall dwell (for aye): no change will they wish for from them. Say: "If the ocean were ink (wherewith to write out) the words of my Lord sooner would the ocean be exhausted than would the words of my Lord even if we added another ocean like it for its aid." Say: (O Muhammad to mankind) "I am but a man like yourselves (but) the inspiration has come to me that your Ilah (God-Allah) is one Allah: whoever expects to meet his Lord let him work righteousness and in the worship of his Lord admit no one as partner."(Qur’an;18:102-110).
Narrated by Anas: The Prophet highlighted the relationship between Faith and Deeds, he said, "Whoever possesses the following three qualities will have the sweetness (delight) of faith:(1).The one to whom Allah and His Apostle becomes dearer than anything else. (2) Who loves a person and he loves him only for Allah's sake. (3)Who hates to revert to Atheism (disbelief) as he hates to be thrown into the fire." (Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith No.,1.15). Narrated by Abu Musa: The Prophet said, "None of you will have faith till he wishes for his (Muslim) brother what he likes for himself." (Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith No.,1.12, Narrated by Anas). Some people asked Allah's Apostle, "Whose Islam is the best? i.e. (Who is a very good Muslim)?" He replied, "One who avoids harming the Muslims with his tongue and hands." (Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith No.,1.10).
Faith and Sins:
Whoever rejects the universal message of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), rejects the message of all messengers, even if he claims that he believes and follows some particular Messenger, is an unbeliever, not a Muslim. It is mentioned in Qur’an: "Those who disbelieve in Allah and His Messengers, and wish to make division between Allah and His Messengers, and say: 'We believe in some and disbelieve in others,' wishing to take a midway course. Those indeed are the unbelievers, and We have prepared for the unbelievers a humiliating punishment" (Qur’an;4:150-51). A believer should fully understand ‘Polytheism (Shirk)’, ‘Disbelief (Kufr)’ and ‘Hypocrisy (An-Nifaq)’ so as to strictly guard against falling in to unbelief.
No one should proclaim any Muslim an unbeliever on account of any sin, however great, unless it be that he regards his sin as permissible. Nor does he forfeit the name of belief; he or she would continue to be called a believer in essence. It is possible to be a sinful believer without being an unbeliever. Allah says in Qur’an: “Then We have given the Book for inheritance to such of Our servants as We have chosen: but there are among them some who wrong their own souls; some who follow a middle course; and some who are by Allah's leave foremost in good deeds; that is the highest Grace.”(Qur’an;35:32). The believers must immediately repent after committing a sin and should not persist in evil. The Qur’an says: “Repentance with Allah (right to be forgiven by Allah) is only for those who do something evil in ignorance and repent as soon as they realize it; Allah will pardon them. Allah is the Knowledgeable, Wise. There is no repentance for those who persist in their evil deeds until death approaches anyone of them and he says: "surely now I repent." Similarly, there is no repentance for those who die while they were still unbelievers; for them We have prepared a painful punishment.”(Qur’an;4:17-18).
After 9/11 the concept of Takfir has gained popularity among the extremist groups operating in Afghanistan, tribal areas of Pakistan, Middle East (Iraq) and elsewhere to justify the killing of fellow innocent Muslims not very religious in outlook and practice. Takfir is the pronouncement that some one is an unbeliever (kafir), no more Muslim, an infidel (murta’d) hence liable to be killed. Takfir has its roots in Egypt, which reflect the twisted ideas of Sayyid Qutab, Mawdudi, IbnTymiyya, and Ibn Kathir. Mainstream Muslims and Islamist groups reject the concept as a doctrinal deviation. Leaders such as Hassan al-Hudayabi (died 1977) and Yusuf al-Qaradawi refutes Takfir as un-Islamic and marked by bigotry and zealotry. This is the outcome of stagnation in thought process.
The faith in Islam is based upon belief in Allah (One God), His angels, His books, His messengers, and Muhammad (peace be upon him) to be His Last Messenger, Resurrection after death, destiny, trial, hell and paradise. A Muslims should practice the five pillars of Islam ( worship); the first two; Declaration, Prayers (Shahada & Salah) are daily, next two Charity & Fasting (Zakat & Saum) are annual while Hajj is once in life. These are based on Abrahamic traditions, also mentioned in Bible.
THE MOST SACRED MOSQUES
“Verily, the first house (of worship) appointed for mankind was that in Baca (Mecca), full of blessing, and guidance for all people."(Qur’an;3:96). "Passing through the valley of Baca, they make it a well-spring; yea, the early rain covereth it with blessings."(Bilbe; Psalm;84:6). “And Remember when We showed Abraham the site of the Holy House (the Ka’bah) at Makka saying: Associate not anything in worship with Me, and sanctify My House for those who circumambulate it, and those who stand up for prayer, and those who bow and (submit themselves with humility and obedience to Allah), and make prostration(in prayer).” (Qur’an;22:26)
The War On Terror (WOT), started after 9/11, is having its toll upon 1.5 billion peace loving Muslims. The few hundred misguided militants (initially trained by US in war against USSR), who have chosen ‘violence’ as means of expression of their anger and reaction to the oppression and injustice, don not represent the vast Muslim majority, which is herself victim of their violence. The killing of innocent Muslims by extremists (on the name of Islam) in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan through suicide attacks has become a routine phenomena, though according to Qur’an, killing of innocents (Muslims or non Muslims) is prohibited, Allah says: “..whoever kills a person, except as a punishment for murder or mischief in the land, it will be written in his book of deeds as if he had killed all the humanity and whoever will save a life shall be regarded as if he saved the humanity …”( Qur’an;5:32), “If a man kills a believer intentionally his recompense is Hell to abide therein (for ever): and the wrath and the curse of Allah are upon him and a dreadful penalty is prepared for him.”(Qur’an;4:93). Thanks to the poor conduct of WOT and US-Western anti Muslim policies. The rhetoric of ‘Clash of Civilization’ is echoed too often followed by its negation and condemnation by Western leaders. One of the candidates of US presidential election opine that the best way he could think of deterring terrorist nuclear attack at US (his own hypothetical conjecture) is, the threat to bomb Makka and Medina in retaliation (the location of two most sacred mosques), this is nothing by State Terrorism. The US and Western leaders and people may not have correct perceptions about the love, affection and importance, the Holy Mosques have in the heart of Muslims, as symbol of unity.
Islam accords very high priority to maintain the sanctity of places of worship of God, be it the Christian churches, Jewish synagogues or the Muslim mosques, Allah says: “..Had not Allah repelled some people by the might of others, the monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques in which Allah's praise is daily celebrated, would have been utterly demolished. Allah will certainly help those who help His cause; most surely Allah is Mighty, Powerful.”(Qur’an;22:40), “Who is more unjust than he who prevents people from the House of worship of God, forbids the mention of His name therein, and strives to ruin them ? It is not proper for such people to enter in them except with His fear. For them there is disgrace in this world and grievous punishment in the Hereafter.”(Qur’an;2:114). Therefore the Muslims are under obligation to honour and protect the houses of worship of God to provide freedom of worship. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) providedprotection to the monks of Mount Sinai. The 2nd Caliph Omar, at the fall of Jerusalem, while visiting the church, decline to offer by Christian clergy to offer prayer in the Church, as he did not want it to used as a precedence by the later Muslims to forcibly covert Churches in to mosques. The churches were protected even during Crusades during Muslim control, while there was wide spread destruction and killings on capture of Jerusalem by the Christian forces.
The most sacred sites in Islam are, the three (mosques) houses of worship of Allah; Ka’ba, Prophet's Mosque in Medina and Al-Aqsa Mosque at Jerusalem. This indicates the importance Islam attaches to Tawhid (Islamic Monotheism). Apart from their religious significance, they are also of great historical value. Effort is being made to highlight the history and importance of most sacred Muslim sites, in historic perspective and responsibilities of Muslims as inheritors of Qur’an and legacy of Abraham, to protect the Holy Mosques.
Sa'id bin Al-Musayyib reported from Abu Hurairah that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, "You should not undertake a special journey to visit any place other than the three Mosques: the Sacred Mosque of Makka, this mosque of mine (at Medina), and Al-Aqsa Mosque (of Jerusalem)." This is reported by Bukhari, Muslim, and Abu Dawud (Fiqh-us-Sunna, Volume 5 Number 132c). Traveling to these three mosques is prescribed because of their special position in Islam. Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said; “Prayer in the mosque of Aqsa (i.e. Bayt al-Maqdis) has a reward of fifty thousand prayers; his prayer in my mosque (the Prophet's mosque in Medina) has a reward of fifty thousand prayers; and the prayer in the Sacred Mosque (Ka'bah) at Makka has a reward of one hundred thousand prayers. Transmitted by Ibn Majah. (Al-Tirmidhi Hadith,752, Narrated by Anas ibn Malik).
The First House of Worship of One God:
Makka is the ancient centre of Islam, because it has the honour to house Ka’ba, the first house of worship of Allah, it is also the City of Peace. Its historical and religious significance is central to the origin of Islam and religious practices, from the days of Prophet Adam, Abraham, through to Muhammad (peace be upon them all) till eternity. The Jerusalem, generally known as the symbol of Jewish unity in the form of ‘The Temple of Solomon’ (Al-Aqsa Mosque) is important to all followers of Abrahamic faith i.e. Jews, Christians as well as Muslims. Some time after the shifting of the responsibility of the leadership of humanity from the Children of Israel to Children of Isma’il, the symbol of unity of Muslims, the true followers of Abraham (peace be upon him) also passed from Jerusalem to Makka, thereby the old and original "City of Peace" was restored and made universal. Makka is located in Southern Arabia at the old trade route from Yemen to Syria. Ka'ba, the House of God is the first House (of worship) chosen for men. It was first built by Prophet Adam (peace be upon him) at place, now called Makka also referred as Bakka in Qur’an. "Verily, the first house (of worship) appointed for mankind was that in Bakka (Mecca), full of blessing, and guidance for all people."(Qur’an;3:96). This word Bakka is also mentioned in the Bible: “Who passing through the valley of Bakka makes it a well; the rain also fills the pools”(Psalm;84:6).
Abraham and Ishmael Rebuilt Ka’ba:
Abraham Leaves Ishmael:
Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) on divine instructions, had to leave his eldest son Ishmael (then an infant) along with his mother Hajira (Hagar) at Makka (Arabia), an uninhabited desert at that time, the place where the first House of Worship of Allah was built by Adam. She could have died of thirst in the desert around Makka along with her young son; but they were miraculously saved by the water which came out of earth, the spring is called Zamzam, which still exists in the form of a well. The place was inhabited due to water and its location on the trade route, it became to be known as Makka. Years later Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) revisited them, the event of offering his son for sacrifice for the pleasure of God took place here. Allah saved the son (Isma’il) and accepted the supreme gesture of Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him). The rites are part of annual pilgrimage (Hajj) since then.
Universal House of Worship for All Believers:
The site of Makka was granted to Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) (and his son Isma’il) for building a place of worship that was to be pure (without idols, the worship to Allah, the One True God) and universal for the humanity, without being reserved (like Solomon's Temple of later times) to any one People or Race. Once Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) came, there was no sign of original house of Allah, through the guidance of Allah he found the original foundations and made a roofless structure, it is narrated in Qur’an:" And Remember when We showed Abraham the site of the Holy House (the Ka’bah) at Makka saying: Associate not anything in worship with Me, and sanctify My House for those who circumambulate it, and those who stand up for prayer, and those who bow and submit themselves with humility and obedience to Allah, and make prostration in prayer."(Qur’an;22:26). “Abraham said: "My Lord make this (Makka) a city of peace and provide its people with plenty of food from fruits, those of them who believe in Allah and the Last Day." He answered, "As for those who do not, I shall also provide for them in this life, though in the Hereafter I shall drag them to the torture of Hellfire and it is an evil destination indeed! And (remember) when Abraham and (his son) Ishmael were raising the foundations of the House (the Ka'bah) at Makka, (saying), ‘Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us. Verily! You are the All-Hearer, all Knower."(Qur’an;2:126-127).
When raised to a certain height, Prophet Abraham (Peace be upon him) ordered his son to choose a piece of stone to mark the main corner point. While he was searching for it, the Archangel Gabriel appeared with the stone from Heaven. Prophet Abraham (Peace be upon him) fixed at the eastern corner. Narrated by Abdullah ibn Abbas, Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said: "The black stone descended from Paradise whiter than milk, but the sins of the descendants of Adam made it black. ":Ahmad and Tirmidhi transmitted it, the latter saying that his is a hasan sahih tradition. (Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 2577,). Prophet Isma’il (peace be upon him) become the founder of the new Arab nation and Makka developed as a centre of Islamic faith and trade.
Abraham Revived Original Islam:
Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) thus revived the original Islam (which is as old as mankind) in Arabia. While building the sacred mosque, Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) dedicated the work to God in humble supplication, addressing Him as the All-Hearing and the All-Knowing. He then asked for a blessing on himself and his progeny generally, both the children of his eldest-born Isma’il (Arabs) and his younger son Isaac (Jews), peace be upon them.
Abraham Prayed for City of Peace & Unity:
It is narrated in Qur’an: “Remember Abraham said: "O my Lord! make this city one of peace and security: and preserve me and my sons from worshipping idols. O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in a valley without cultivation by thy Sacred House; in order O our Lord that they may establish regular prayer: so fill the hearts of some among men with love towards them and feed them with Fruits: so that they may give thanks. "O our Lord! truly Thou dost know what we conceal and what we reveal: for nothing whatever is hidden from Allah whether on earth or in heaven. "Praise be to Allah who hath granted unto me in old age Isma’il and Isaac: for truly my Lord is He the Hearer of Prayer!”(Qur’an;14:35-39). In Abraham's prophetic mind was the secret and open enmity or contempt which the Children of Israel were to have for the Children of Isma'il (Arabs). He prays to Allah that they may be united in Islam, as indeed they were, except a small remnant.
According to Bible, Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born (Genesis;21: 5); and as Isma'il was 13 years old when Abraham was 99. (Genesis;27:24-25), Isma'il was also a son of his father's old age, having been born when Abraham was 86 years old. The younger son's progeny developed the Faith of Israel and that of Christ; the elder son's progeny perfected the more universal Faith of Islam, the Faith of Abraham the Truthful. Abraham prayed for both branches of his family, having a wider vision than some of the later Children of Israel. With prophetic vision he foresaw that there will be corruption and backsliding in both branches of his family: Makka will house idols, and Jerusalem will become a harlot city (Ezekiel;16:15), a city of abomination. But the light of Islam will shine, and reclaim the lost people in both branches and indeed in all the world.
Corruption of Faith of Abraham:
Over the centuries the descendents of Prophet a Ishmael (peace be upon him) corrupted the faith of their forefathers and started associating partners with Him and worshiping many gods. The pagans Arabs believed Allah as the Supreme Lord but considered the idols as smaller gods or His partners, totally against the strict monotheism preached by Prophet Abraham and Isma’il (peace be upon them). By the sixth century C.E, Ka’bah was filled with 360 idols, in the interior of Ka’ba they placed statue of Prophet Isma’il and Abraham (peace be upon them) with the ram beside him ready for sacrifice.
Destruction of Abraha’s Army of Elephants:
In the known history Ka’ba has remained a safe and peaceful House of worship of Allah, with no threat form any one. However in 571 C.E just before the birth of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Abraha (The Greek historians write him as Abrames and the Syriac historians as Abraham, Abrahah perhaps is an Abyssinian variant of Abraham, for its Arabic version is Ibrahim) the Christian Abyssinian ruler of Yemen invaded Makka with a large army, which also included some elephants, a strange beast for Arabs. The pagan Arabs abandoned the city, took to hills for safety. Allah sent swarms of birds carrying stones in their beaks and claws, showered on the invading troops, which miraculously destroyed them. Whoever was hit would start disintegrating. According to Muhammad bin Ishaq and Ikrimah, this was smallpox, which was seen in Arabia for the first time in that year. Ibn Abbas says that whoever was struck by a pebble, would start scratching his body resulting in breaking of the skin and falling off of the flesh. In another tradition Ibn Abbas says that the flesh and blood flowed like water and bones in the body became visible. The same thing happened with Abrahah too. His flesh fell in pieces and there arose bores on his body emitting pus and blood.
In confusion they withdrew and fled towards Yemen. This is known as The Year of Elephants (A’am ul Feel) in Arabia. This is how miraculously Allah saved His House. The incidence been referred in Qur’an: “Have you not considered how your Lord dealt with the Army of the Elephant? Did He not make their treacherous plan a flop? And send against them flocks of birds, which pelted them with stones of baked clay, thus rendered them like the chewed-up chaff”(Qur’an;105:1-5).
Reconstruction of Ka’ba after Abraham:
The structure constructed by Abraham (peace be upon him) also got buried in the sand with the passage of time. Later it was reconstructed by the tribe of Amalqa and later by Jerhem. Once this structure got damaged the Quraysh (the tribe of Prophet, peace be upon him) reconstructed it. Ka'bah as appears now is a cubed shaped structure having a black stone (Hajr-e-aswad) fixed in its eastern corner. Literally, Ka'bah (Ka’ba) in Arabic means a high place with respect and prestige, four cornered structure, the word may also have some semblance with English ‘cube’, Latin ‘cubus’ or Greek ‘kubos’. Ka'bah is also called ‘Bait-ul-Ateeq’ which means, the earliest, ancient, independent and liberating.
Ka’ba –The Direction of Worship, Qibla:
The Muslims all over the world face towards Ka'bah during their prayers: Hence Ka'bah is called the Qibla (direction of prayer) for Muslims. It is important to note that though Muslims face the Ka'bahduring prayers, but they do not worship the Ka'bah. Muslims worship and bow to none but Allah. It is mentioned in Qur’an: “To Allah belong the East and the West; whithersoever ye turn there is the (Wajh-"face") presence of Allah. For Allah is All-Pervading All-Knowing.’(Qur’an;2:115). "We see the turning of thy face (for guidance) to the heavens; now shall We turn thee to a Qibla that shall please thee. Turn then thy face in the direction of the Sacred Mosque; wherever ye are turn your faces in that direction. The people of the book know well that that is the truth from their Lord nor is Allah unmindful of what they do."(Qur’an;2:144).
The Jews and Christians looked upon Jerusalem as a sacred city. But there was no universal Qibla among them. Some Jews turned towards Jerusalem, especially during the Captivity. At the time of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Jerusalem was under Christian Byzantine Empire. But the Christians oriented their churches to the East (hence the word "orientation") which is a point of the compass, and not the direction of any sacred place. The fact of the altar being in the East does not mean that every worshipper has his face to the east; for, according at least to modern practice, the seats in a church are so placed that different worshippers may face in different directions.
Initially the Muslims were required to face Jerusalem during their prayers. The Preacher of Unity, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) naturally wanted, in this as in other matters, a symbol of complete unity, and his heart was naturally delighted when Ka’bah was made the Qiblah (direction of Salah, prayer). Its connection with Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) gave it great antiquity; its character of being an Arab centre made it appropriate when the Message (Qur’an) came in Arabic, and was preached through the union of the Arabs. At that time the little Muslim community was cutoff form Ka’ba, being exiles in Medina, however Ka’ba became a permanent source of hope, which Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) lived to see the fulfillment; and it also became the centre and gathering ground of all Muslims in the universal pilgrimage (Hajj), which was instituted with it.
Forbidden City for Non Muslims:
After conquest of Makka by Muslims, Ka’ba was reserved for Muslims only. Allah says: “O believers! Know that polytheist are unclean; therefore, do not let them come near the Masjid-al-Haram after this year's pilgrimage. If you fear poverty, soon Allah - if He so wills - enrich you out of His bounty. Allah is All-Knowledgeable, All-Wise.”(Qur’an;9:128). Any apprehensions abut loss of revenue due to this restriction Allah, promised to enrich them, as proved in history later.
Site of Annual Pilgrimage Hajj:
Hajj means effort, the obligatory pilgrimage to Makka for every Muslim if he is healthy and can financially afford. It is one of the five pillars of Islam and takes place during the Islamic month of Zhul al-Hijjah. As mentioned above Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him), had initiated and established the holy Pilgrimage. The degenerated descendants of Abraham and Isma’il (Peace be upon them), defiled Allah’s Holy Ka'bah into a huge pantheon. They injected pagan rites into the purely Islamic Pilgrimage laid down by Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him). Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), cleansed the Holy Ka'bah from its heathen idols and again restored the original pilgrimage to its pristine purity.
Reconstruction of Ka’ba-Historic Perspective:
After Adam and Abraham, Ka’ba has been rebuilt many times, when ever the building got damaged due to floods or calamities. Years before the declaration of Prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him), Ka’ba got damaged due to flash floods. Quraysh, the custodian tribes did not have sufficient funds so, the reconstruction did not include the entire foundation of the Ka’ba as built by Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him). This was the first time that Ka’ba acquired the cubical shape it has now unlike its earlier rectangular shape. The portion of the Ka’ba left out is called Hateem, it is adjacent to the Ka’ba, enclosed by a low semi-circular wall.
In the lifetime of the Prophet there was no wall around the Ka'ba and the people used to pray around the Ka'ba till 'Omar became the Caliph and he built the wall around it. 'Ubaidullah further said, "Its wall was low, so Ibn Az-Zubair built it." (Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith: 5.171, Narrated by Amr bin Dinar and Ubaidullah bin Abi Yazid). 'Aysha said that the Prophet said to her, "O Aysha! Were your nation not close to the pre-Islamic period of Ignorance, I would have had the Ka'ba demolished and would have included in it the portion which had been left, and would have made it at a level with the ground and would have made two doors for it, one towards the east and the other towards the west, and then by doing this it would have been built on the foundations laid by Abraham." That was what urged Ibn-Az-Zubair to demolish the Ka'ba. Jazz said, "I saw Ibn-Az-Zubair when he demolished and rebuilt the Ka'ba (64-65 Hijrah) and included in it a portion of Al-Hijr (the unroofed portion of Ka'ba which is at present in the form of a compound towards the northwest of the Ka'ba). I saw the original foundations of Abraham which were of stones resembling the humps of camels." So Jarir asked Yazid, "Where was the place of those stones?" Jazz said, "I will just now show it to you." So Jarir accompanied Yazid and entered Al-Hijr, and Jazz pointed to a place and said, "Here it is." Jarir said, "It appeared to me about six cubits from Al-Hijr or so." (Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith: 2.656, Narrated by Yazid bin Ruman from Urwa).
In 74 Hijra (693 C.E) Al-Hajjaj bin Yusuf al-Thaqafi, the known tyrant of that time, with the approval of Umayyad Caliph Abdul Malik bin Marwan, demolished what Ibn az-Zubayr had added and restored the old structure of the Quraysh. When Abdul Malik bin Marwan came for Umra and heard the Hadith that it was wish of Prophet for the Ka’ba to be constructed the way Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr had built it, he regretted his actions. Abbasi Caliph Harun al Rasheed wanted to rebuild the Ka’ba the way the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) wanted and the way Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr built it. Imam Malik advised that frequent demolition and rebuilding of Ka’ba is against its sanctity because it may become a practice by the Caliphs and Kings to demolish and rebuild it. The Caliph refrained, thus the structure remains the same with minor repairs here and there.
After damage by the floods in 1040 Hijrah (1596 C.E) the reconstruction took place under the guidance of the Ottoman Caliph Sultan Murad. The latest major reconstruction of Ka’ba took place in 1996. The original stones including black stone are part of the new construction, while other material has been replaced including the ceiling , roof and its wood.
The ritual of circumambulation of Ka’bah (twaf) is part of Umrah and Hajj. Kissing of the Black Stone (Hajr-e-aswad) or from distance pointing by hand marks the start of each circumambulation of Ka’bah to count seven circumambulations. The Black Stone thus, serves to mark the start of each round. Bukhari, Muslim and Abu Dawud reported, narrated by Abis bin Rabia that, Umar, the second Caliph approached the Black Stone and kissed it. Then he said: "I know that you are a mere stone that can neither harm nor do any good. If I had not seen the Prophet (peace be upon him) kissing you, I would have never kissed you."(Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith,2.667). Kissing of Black Stone is a sign of respect like people kiss their holy scriptures (Bible, Geeta) or children. In 929 C.E, the Qarmatians (the most un-Islamic sect in Islam) sacked Makka and carried away the Black Stone to Bahrain, it was restored back to Ka'bah after 20 years. During this period all rituals and circumambulation (Twaf) of Ka’bah continued as usual. This stone is revered by Muslims nothing more. Muslims only worship Allah and pray to Him alone.
PROPHET'S MOSQUE AT MEDINA
Prophet's Mosque at Medina is one of three most sacred mosques built in 622 C.E. The history of its construction and background is well explained in the Hadith; Narrated by Anas: When the Prophet arrived Medina he dismounted at 'Awali-i-Medina amongst a tribe called Banu 'Amr bin 'Auf. He stayed there for fourteen nights. Then he sent for Bani An-Najjar and they came armed with their swords. As if I am looking (just now) as the Prophet was sitting over his Rahila (Mount) with Abu Bakr riding behind him and all Banu An-Najjar around him till he dismounted at the courtyard of Abu Aiyub's house. The Prophet loved to pray wherever the time for the prayer was due even at sheep folds. Later on he ordered that a mosque should be built and sent for some people of Banu-An-Najjar and said, "O Banu An-Najjar! Suggest to me the price of this (walled) piece of land of yours." They replied, "No! By Allah! We do not demand its price except from Allah." Anas added: There were graves of pagans in it and some of it was unleveled and there were some date-palm trees in it. The Prophet ordered that the graves of the pagans be dug out and the unleveled land be leveled and the date-palm trees be cut down. (So all that was done). They aligned these cut date-palm trees towards the Qibla of the mosque (as a wall) and they also built two stone side-walls (of the mosque). His companions brought the stones while reciting some poetic verses. The Prophet was with them and he kept on saying, "There is no goodness except that of the Hereafter, O Allah! So please forgive the Ansars and the emigrants."(Sahih Al Bukhari Hadith, Volume 1, Hadith Number 420).
Role and Functions:
Prophet’s Mosque served as a model for all later mosques. A small part of the space was used to house Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his family. The home of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his family was a simple structure, made of raw brick, that opened on an enclosed courtyard where people gathered to hear him, it was a special place for worship and congregation. In 624 C.E when it was decreed (Qur’an;2:144) that prayer be directed toward Mecca instead of Jerusalem; against the wall facing Mecca, the Qiblah wall, was built as a roofed shelter supported by pillars made of palm trunks. Against the opposite wall of the courtyard stood a roofed gallery to shelter the companions of Prophet, the antecedent of the roofed oratories in later mosques. In 628 C.E a minbar, or pulpit, was added so that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was raised above the crowd; besides leading prayer, the Prophet (peace be upon him) settled the disputes from the minbar according to Islamic Law. Later mosques also combined political, judicial, and religious functions.
Garden of Paradise (Riaz-ul-Jannah):
Narrated by Abu Huraira; The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "There is a garden from the gardens of Paradise (riaz-ul-jannah)between my house and my pulpit, and my pulpit is on my LakeFount (Al-Kauthar)."(Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 3.112). Jabir bin Abdullah reported that Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said: "Ibrahim (peace be upon him) made Makka Haram (sacred), and I declare Medina and what lies between its two black tracts Haram.(Fiqh us Sunnah:5.63a). Like Makka non Muslims are not permitted to visit this sacred mosque.
Place of Safety (Harem):
It is desire of every Muslim to offer prayer at this place.Medina is a sanctuary; it is forbidden to cut its trees. Any one who innovates an heresy or commits a sin therein, will incur the curse of Allah, the angels, and all the people. Anas bin Malik reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Whoever prays forty prayers consecutively in my mosque without missing any of the obligatory prayer, he will be removed from Hell, from punishment, and from hypocrisy." This was reported by Ahmad and At-Tabarani with a sound chain. Like Ka’ba, non Muslims are not allowed to visit this mosque.
Last Resting Place of Prophet (PBUH)& Companions:
The mosque, containing the resting place of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his close companions, Abubakar Siddiq and Umar al Khattab. In 706C.E Caliph Al-Walid I replaced the original brick buildings and created a new building of mosque on the site. The original structure was rebuilt and expanded many times to cater for ever rising numbers of faithful. According to the famous narrative, Nureddin, Zangi (1118-1174 C.E), the pious Muslim ruler of Syria, through a dream got an indication from the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) about mischievous activities of some Jews, digging a tunnel towards his mausoleum. While the culprits were traced and punished, he built an underground protective shield of metal (lead etc) to protect the holy mausoleum from future miscreants. Though not obligatory but most Muslim make it a point to visit the mosque during pilgrimage (Hajj or Umrah) period.
Al-Aqsa Mosque is located atJerusalem (Hebrew Yerushalayim; Arabic Bayt al-Muqaddas, or al-Quds), one of the world's oldest and holiest cities. The city plays a central role in the spiritual and emotional perspective of the three major monotheistic religions. For Jews throughout the world, Jerusalemis the focus of age-old yearnings, a living proof of ancient grandeur and independence and a centre of national renaissance; for Christians, it is the scene of their Saviour's agony and triumph; for Muslims, it is the goal of the Prophet Muhammad's (peace be upon him) night journey and the site of one of Islam's most sacred shrines. For all three faiths it is a centre of pilgrimage; the HolyCity, the earthly prototype of the heavenly Jerusalem. “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee. Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good.” (Psalms;122:6-9).
Muslim Claim & Legacy:
The site of Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem is sacred to Muslims, for three main reasons:
The Second House of Worship of One God:
According to the Islamic traditions, the site of Al-Aqsa Mosque is the second place built in the history of mankind for the worship of One God, the first being at Makka. Muslims, as the true inheritors and followers of the faith of Abraham believe in the prophets of Bible to be the prophets of Islam. Hence as true inheritors of the legacy of Abraham, rightly claim the Al-Aqsa Mosque (also known as Temple of Jerusalem). It is called ‘farthest’, because it was the place of worship farthest west which was known to the Arabs at that time.
Venue of Prophet’s Ascend to Heaven:
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), ascended into heaven from this site, it is mentioned in Qur’an: “Glorified be He Who carried His servant by night from the Inviolable Place of Worship to the Far Distant Place of Worship (Al-Aqsa Mosque) the neighborhood whereof We have blessed, that We might show him of Our tokens! Lo! He, only He, is the Hearer, the Seer.”(Qur’an;17:1). Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is believed to have lead the prayer which was attended by all the prophets at this blessed place.
Initial Direction of Prayer (Qibla) of Muslims:
Islam declared the site of Solomon Temple as a sacred house of worship and direction of prayer for Muslims. This remained the direction of prayer for quite some time, however later it was changed to Makka on direction of Allah: “..To Allah belong both East and West;”(Qur’an;2:142). Hence it is one of three most holiest sites of Islam other being Ka’ba and Mosque of the Prophet at Medina.
1St Temple-Housed the Ark of the Covenant:
Al-Aqsa Mosque is located at the place called MountMoriah or the TempleMount. It is the same place (or near) where Temple of Solomon was constructed to house the Ark of Covenant and for the worship of One God, preached and worshiped by Abraham. The Ark of the Covenant, (Hebrew Aron Ha-Berit) was most sacred to the Israelites. As per the Biblical traditions it is the ornate, gold-plated wooden chest that in biblical times housed the two tablets of the Law given to Moses by God (Ten Commandments engraved on stone, with relics of Moses and Aaron). This was a sacred possession to Israel. It was lost to the enemy in the early part of Prophet Samuel's ministry. Qur’an mentions about it: “And their Prophet (Samuel) said unto them (Israelites): Lo! the token of his kingdom is that there shall come unto you the Ark (Tabut u fihi Sakinatum) wherein is peace of reassurance from your Lord, and a remnant of that which the house of Moses and the house of Aaron left behind, the angels bearing it. Lo! herein shall be a token for you if (in truth) ye are believers...”(Qur’an;2:248). [Word Sakina is understood to mean; safety, tranquility, peace. Later Jewish writings use the same word Shekhina, for a symbol of God's Glory in the Tabernacle or tent or Temple of Solomon in which the Ark was kept].
In the time of prophet Samuel, Israel had suffered from much corruption within and many reverses. The Philistines had made a great attack and defeated Israel with great slaughter. The Israelites, instead of relying on Faith and their own valour and cohesion, brought out their most sacred possession, the Ark of the Covenant, to help them in the fight. But the enemy captured it, carried it away, and retained it for seven months. The Israelites forgot that wickedness cannot screen itself behind a sacred relic. Nor can a sacred relic help the enemies of faith. The enemy found that the Ark brought nothing but misfortune for them, and were glad to abandon it. It apparently remained twenty years in the village (qarya) of Yaarim (Kirjath-jeafim): (I.Samuel;7: 2.) Meanwhile the people pressed Samuel to appoint them a king. They thought that a king would cure all their ills, whereas spirit of unity, discipline and a readiness on their part to fight in the cause of God was required. However Saul was appointed as king. When the Ark came back, it remained in a village for twenty years and was apparently taken to the capital when kingship was instituted. It thus became a symbol of unity and authority. (The final fate of the Arkis unknown).
The Arkrested in the Holy of Holies inside the Tabernacle of the ancient Temple of Jerusalem and was seen only by the high priest of the Israelites on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. [Tabernacle was the portable sanctuary in which the Jews carried the Ark of the Covenant through the desert.]. The Levites (priestly functionaries) carried the Arkwith them during the Hebrews' wanderings in the wilderness. Following the conquest of Canaan, the Promised Land, the Arkresided at Shiloh, but from time to time it was carried into battle by the Israelites. After King David's capture of Jerusalem, however, the Ark was moved to that city, later placed in Temple of Solomon. This action joined Israel's major religious object with the monarchy and the city itself into a central symbol of union of the Israelite tribes. As the site for a future temple, David chose MountMoriah, or the TempleMount, where it was believed (according to Jewish traditions) Abraham had built the altar on which he was prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac. (As per Muslim traditions and belief, it was Ishmael and not Isaac and the place was around Makka, Muslims perform Hajj (annual pilgrimage) to commemorate the event).
The FirstTemplewas constructed during the reign of David's son, Solomon (peace be upon them), and completed in 957 BC. After building the House of Worship of God, as fulfillment of desire of his father David, Solomon said: “..I have built the house for the name of the LORD, the God of Israel”(1Kings;8:20), “Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven;” (1Kings;8:22), he prayed: "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built! Yet have regard to the prayer of thy servant and to his supplication, O LORD my God, hearkening to the cry and to the prayer which thy servant prays before thee this day; that thy eyes may be open night and day toward this house, the place of which thou hast said, `My name shall be there,' that thou mayest hearken to the prayer which thy servant offers toward this place. And hearken thou to the supplication of thy servant and of thy people Israel, when they pray toward this place; yea, hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place; and when thou hearest, forgive. ”(1Kings;8:27-30).
The house of worship of God was built as an abode for the Ark and as a place of assembly for the entire people; hence the Temple of Jerusalem was the centre of worship and national identity in ancient Israel. The FirstTemplecontained five altars: one at the entrance of the Holy of Holies, two others within the building, a large bronze one before the porch, and a large tiered altar in the courtyard. A huge bronze bowl, or "sea," in the courtyard was used for the priests' ablutions. Within the Holy of Holies, two cherubim of olive wood stood with the Ark; this innermost sanctuary was considered the dwelling place of the Divine Presence (Shekhina) and could be entered only by the high priest and only on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur).
Destruction by Nebuchadnezzar-II of Babylonia-586 B.C:
The Temple suffered at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylonia, who removed the Temple treasures in 604 BC and 597 BC and totally destroyed the building in 587/586 B.C. This destruction and the deportations of Jews to Babylonia in 586 B.C and 582 B.C were seen as fulfillments of prophecy and, therefore, strengthened Judaic religious beliefs and awakened the hope for the reestablishment of the independent Jewish state.
Rebuilt 515 BC:
Cyrus II, of Persia and conqueror of Babylonia, in 538 BC allowed exiled Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple. Work was completed in 515 BC. This is known as the SecondTemple, which was constructed as a modest version of the original building. It did not include the Ark of the Covenant which was lost. During the Persian and Hellenistic (4th-3rd century BC) periods, the Templegenerally was respected, and in part subsidized, by Judea’s foreign rulers.
Antiochus IV Epiphanes, however, plundered it in 169 BC and desecrated it in 167 BC by commanding that sacrifices be made to Zeus on an altar built for him. This final act touched off the Hasmonean revolt, during which Judas Maccabaeus cleansed and rededicated the Temple; the event is celebrated by Jews in the annual festival of Hanukkah.
Rebuilding of 2nd TempleStarts- 20 BC:
During the Roman conquest, Pompey entered (63 BC) the Holy of Holies but left the Templeintact. In 54 BC, however, Crassus plundered the Templetreasury. Of major importance was the rebuilding of the SecondTemplebegun by Herod the Great, king (37 BC-4 C.E) of Judea. Construction began in 20 BC and lasted for 46 years. The area of the TempleMount was doubled and surrounded by a wall with gates. The HerodianTemplewas again the centre of Israelite life. It was not only the focus of religious ritual but also the repository of the Holy Scriptures and other national literature and the meeting place of the Sanhedrin, the highest court of Jewish law during the Roman period.
2nd Temple's Destruction by Romans -70 C.E & Expulsion of Jews:
The rebellion against Rome that began in C.E 66 soon focused on the Temple and effectively ended with the Temple's destruction on the 9th/10th of Av, C.E 70. The Jews were expelled. All that remained of the SecondTemple was a portion of the Western Wall( also called the Wailing Wall), which continues to be the focus of Jewish aspirations and pilgrimage.
Christian Control of Jerusalem:
During 7th century, Jerusalem was a sacred place to both Jews and Christians, but the Christians had the upper hand after conversion of Emperor Constantine to Christianity (306-337 C.E), as it was included in the Byzantine Empire, which maintained a Patriarch at Jerusalem.
Jerusalem under Muslims; Jews Allowed to Return:
Jerusalem fell to Muslims (638 C.E). After Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) being true inheritors of legacy of Abraham (peace be upon him), this site is scared to Muslims as well. Moreover it is the venue of Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) ascend to heaven, and first Qibla (direction of prayer). The holy site was cleaned by the 2nd Muslim Caliph Omar himself, and he offered prayer. It was rebuilt as a place of worship of Allah (Mosque) in 691 C.E by Caliph 'Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan. (also called Dome of the Rock , Arabic QUBBAT AS-SAKHRAH, Bait al-Maqdis, Mosque of Omar). It is virtually the first monumental building in Islamic history after Ka’ba and is of considerable aesthetic and architectural importance besides the spiritual sacredness. The Jews were allowed to return by Muslims after 500 years. It changed hands between Christians and Muslims during Crusades till final eviction by Salhud-din-Ayoubi in 1187 C.E, ending its 88-year occupation by the Franks. Jerusalem remained under Muslim rule till 1917 , after the retreat of the Turks it was ruled under the British Mandate till 1948, then made part of Jordan.
Israel captured Jerusalem in 1967. Israel has declared Jerusalem as its indivisible capital against UN Resolutions, which is not internationally recognized. The Palestine have declared it as the capital of their state as and when it is established. The Old Jerusalem city is dominated by the raised platform of the HerodianTemple Compound, claimed as the site of the First and SecondTemples of the Hebrews and Jews; the compound includes the Islamic holy places of the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque. Its Western (Wailing) Wall is the most sacred of Jewish shrines. Though one of the three most sacred places for Muslims, they are being denied free access ever since Israeli occupation. With the passage of time the Muslim world appears to be forgetting Al-Aqsa Mosque, considering that it will get resolved with the establishment of Palestinian state, a remote possibility in near future. This apathy has encouraged the enemies of Islam to threaten the other two holiest Muslim sites as well.
Jewish Defiance and Divine Punishment:
The Jews were rebellious in implementation of Divine commandments, it is mentioned in Bible: “And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiff necked people: (Exodus; 32:9)”, “Understand therefore, that the LORD thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiff-necked people. Remember, and forget not, how thou provokedst the LORD thy God to wrath in the wilderness: from the day that thou didst depart out of the land of Egypt, until ye came unto this place, ye have been rebellious against the LORD. Also in Horeb ye provoked the LORD to wrath, so that the LORD was angry with you to have destroyed you.” (Deuteronomy; 9:6-8), “Likewise when the LORD sent you from Kadeshbarnea, saying, Go up and possess the land which I have given you; then ye rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God, and ye believed him not, nor hearkened to his voice. Ye have been rebellious against the LORD from the day that I knew you.” (Deuteronomy; 9:23-24), “Remember thy servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; look not unto the stubbornness of this people, nor to their wickedness, nor to their sin”: (Deuteronomy; 9:27).
Allah says: “If they would have observed the Laws of Torah and the Gospel and other Revelations which were sent to them from their God, they would have certainly enjoyed abundance from above and from beneath. Though there are some among them on the moderate course; but most of them do nothing but evil”.(Qur’an;5:66). “Over shadowed by ignominy are they wherever they may be, save (when they bind themselves again) in a bond with God and a bond with men; for they have earned the burden of God’s condemnation, and are over shadowed by humiliation: for all this (has befallen them)” because they persisted in denying the truth of God’s message and in slaying the prophets against all right: transgressing the bounds of what is right”(Qur’an;3:112).
Thus they had to suffer the Divine punishment in the form of destruction of their temple, enslavement and dispersion. Allah says: “However, if any one of you, after this, violates this covenant, he will indeed go astray from the Right Way. Even after that, they broke their covenant; as a result, We laid on them Our curse and hardened their hearts. They tempered with words out of their context and neglected much of what they were enjoined. You will always find most of them deceitful except for a few of them. Yet forgive them and overlook their misdeeds. Allah loves those who are kind to others. Likewise We also made a covenant with those who call themselves Christians, but they too have neglected much of what they were enjoined.. ”(Qur’an;5:13-14). Allah may punish any one who disobeys Him. Allah says: “The Jews and the Christians say: "We are the children of God and His beloved ones." Ask them, "Why then does He punish you for your sins? Nay! In fact you are human beings like others which He has created. He forgives whom He pleases and He punishes whom He pleases..”(Qur’an;5:18).
The divine punishment for rebellion and disobedience is not restricted to the Jews only, Allah has been punishing the rebellious people and replacing them with others, He says: “How many populations that insolently opposed the command of their Lord and of His apostles did We not then call to account to severe account? And We imposed on them an exemplary Punishment. Then did they taste the evil result of their conduct and the End of their conduct was Perdition.” (Qur’an;65:8-9), “Your Lord is Self-Sufficient, Lord of Mercy. If He wants, He can destroy you all and replace you with others as He pleases, just as He raised you from the offspring of other people.”(Qur’an;6:133). There are lessons for the Muslims in the Divine punishment accorded the Children of Israel for violating Covenant with Allah.
OBLIGATIONS OF MUSLIMS
AS INHERITORS OF QUR’AN & LEGACY OF ABRAHAM (PBUH)
Though Judaism and Christianity claim their roots with Abraham (peace be upon him), it is Islam alone, which can truly declare to be the intact legacy of Abraham (peace be upon him). Allah says: “Abraham was not a Jew, nor yet a Christian; but he was an upright man who had surrendered (to Allah), and he was not of the idolaters.”(Qur’an;3:67), “Jews and Christians say: "Be Jews or Christians, you shall then be rightly guided." (O Muhammad), say: "By no means! We follow the faith of Abraham, the upright one; and he joined not gods with Allah.”(Qur’an;2:135), “(O Muhammad),Say: Lo! As for me, my Lord has guided me unto a straight path, a right religion (din qiyam), the community of Abraham, the upright, who was no idolater.”(Qur’an;6:161), “Say: Allah speaks truth. So follow the religion of Abraham, the upright. He was not of the idolaters.”(Qur’an;3:95).
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him ), the last messenger of God, said: “..you (Muslims) are an heir to the heritage of Abraham”(Sunan Abu Dawood;770). Allah appointed Muslims to inherit Qur’an, Allah says: “We have given the Book (Qur’an) as an inheritance to those of Our servants (Muslims) whom We have chosen, among them there are some who wrong their own souls, some follow a middle course and some, by Allah's leave, excel in good deeds; which is the supreme virtue.”(Qur’an;35:32).
As inheritors of legacy of Abraham and Qur’an, Muslims have a great responsibility, towards mankind. Allah says: “We have made you (Muslims) a moderate (wasat-justly balanced) community so that you may be witness against the mankind and that your own Messenger may be witness against you…”(Qur’an;2:143). The essence of Islam is to avoid all extravagances and extremism on either side. It is a sober, practical balanced (wasat) religion. When two persons dispute, they advance extravagant claims. A just witness comes between them, and brings the light of reason to bear on them, pruning all their selfish extravagances. So the mission of Islam is to curb, for instance, the extreme formalism of the Mosaic Law and the extreme "other-worldliness" professed by Christianity. Similarly use of violence is against the spirit of moderation. The witness must be unselfish, equipped with first-hand knowledge, and ready to intervene in the cause of justice. Such is the position claimed by Islam among rival systems. Similarly, within Islam itself, the position of witness to whom disputants can appeal is held by the last Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him). Hence the Muslims beargreat responsibility with in themselves and then to the mankind, Allah says: “You (Muslims) are the best of peoples which has ever been raised for the guidance of mankind. You enjoin good, forbid evil, and believe in Allah.”(Qur’an;3:110). Qur’an advises patience in enjoining good and forbidding the evil, because the persuasion and preaching requires patience, Luqman’s (sage) advised his son: “O my son! Be constant in prayer (Salah), enjoin good and forbid the evil. Endure with patience whatever befalls you, surely this shows your determination in conducting the affairs.”(Qur’an;31:17). The Muslims have to understand, practice and preach the message of Qur’an to humanity. The Children of Israel were advised: “Why do not the Rabbis and the doctors of laws forbid them from their (habit of) uttering sinful words and eating things forbidden? Evil indeed are their works.”(Qur’an;5:63).
Islam being the Universal Religion (Din- way of life) urges its adherents to realize their global responsibility towards guidance of mankind, for Islam is just submission to the Will of Allah. This implies (1) Faith, (2) doing right, being an example to others to do right, and having the power to see that the right prevails, (3) avoiding wrong, being an example to others to eschew wrong, and having the power to see that wrong and injustice are defeated. Islam therefore lives, not for itself, but for the mankind as a whole.
The Muslims have to put their own house in order, they stop defiance of Commands of Allah and adhere to the teachings of Islam, which provide complete way of life. The misguided militant groups have to be tackled, who are posing threat not only to the world peace but tarnishing the image of Islam, their genuine concerns are to be addressed so that they are brought in to the folds of mainstream Islam. Muslims have to catch up in the race for the development in scientific, other fields and acquiring knowledge, (their lost treasure of the past) so that they can undertake the great responsibilities with dignity and honor to guide the humanity towards peace and stability. The houses of worship of Allah should become symbol of unity. The Jewish and the history of mankind is full of examples where by the rebellious and defiant nations were punished by Allah. This is sufficient to serve as a warning for the Muslims.
In 571 C.E, Allah protected Ka’ba by miraculously destroying the army of Abraha, (the Christian Abyssinian ruler of Yemen) while the polytheist Arabs abandoned and took to the hills. Now it the responsibility of Muslims as heir of legacy of Abraham and Qur’an to counter any threat to symbols of Muslim unit, the Ka’ba and other holy places of worship of Allah. Allah may again protect His house of worship, or He may not, (like Jewish Temple of Solomon housing the Ark of Covenant, destroyed), as a mark of punishment if Muslims, like Jews continue to disobey Him. Any threat to the sacred Muslims sites is the test and trial of the true faith of Muslims; they have to protect them with all the might at their disposal. Allah says: “O believers! What is the matter with you that when you are asked to go forth in the cause of Allah, you cling to the earth? Do you prefer the life of this world to the life of the hereafter? If it is so, then you should know that the comforts of this life are little compared to the life of the hereafter. If you do not go forth, He will inflict on you a painful punishment and replace you with other people, and you cannot harm Him at all, for Allah has power over everything.”(Qur’an;9:38-39).
The three most sacred places of Islam are the places of worship of Allah. Ka’ba is the first house of worship built by Adam and rebuilt by Abraham the ancestor of Jews, Christians and Muslims. The two fundamentals of Islam, the Hajj and daily worship Salah, are directly linked with Ka’ba. This is the common point of convergence. The Al Aqsa mosque is again related with the second house of worship of God, sacred place for Jews, Christians and Muslims. The Prophet’s Mosque represents the house of worship of God built by the Last messenger of God. There will be no messenger any more, though numerous mosques will continue to be built but the honor granted to this sacred mosque is unique. Al-Aqsa mosque is already under Israeli control, threatened by the excavations carried out by Israeli government with the covert design to rebuild the Temple by the Jews. Ka’ba, Prophet’s Mosque at Medina and Al-Aqsa are the most sacred and most dear sites to all the Muslims, whether practicing or non practicing, moderate or non moderate, religious or fanatic, Sunni or Shi’a, black or white, Arab or non Arab alike.
The irresponsible threats against Muslim holy sites will serve no good purpose but to further strengthen the extremists and weaken the peace loving moderates. Such irrational threats indicate the sick and radical mindset of such individuals. It is time that the tendency to threaten the Muslim holy sites is curbed right at the outset. Any lapse or delay will be considered as a weakness by the enemy’s of Islam, which ultimately may result in to materializing the threat in to reality, a nightmare scenario for the world. The Muslim world (governments and people) have to react sharply (not by damaging own properties in protests) in appropriate manner, representing the aspirations and sensitivity of Muslims. It should be made clear to the Americans and the world that, they should keep Islam, Muslims and their holy sites out of politics and so called War on Terror.
As inheritors of legacy of Abraham and Qur’an, it is the responsibility of Muslims to use all the means, resources and their lives in the cause of Allah by protecting the holy mosques, the symbol of unity of the faith and reverence. If they fail in this, they should learn lessons from the history. Allah punished the Children of Israel for defying His Commandments and not fulfilling responsibilities and betraying Divine trust.Any threat to the Muslim holy sites will result in unimaginable consequences which no one can predict. During the Gulf War, (1991) Pakistan had sent its troops to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the protection of these holy sites. The sharp reaction to the mere rumor, of Americans taking over Ka’ba in 1979 in the form of public violence resulting in the destruction of US embassy at Islamabad and other capitals should be enough to highlight the sensitivity of matter. It is expected that the followers of all faiths, specially the Christian and Jews will also revere the Muslim holy sites, the true custodians of the legacy of common ancestor Abraham.
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Humanity, Religion, Culture, Ethics, Science, Spirituality & Peace